Saturday, August 7, 2021

YouTube Spotlight: The Soul Train Basketball Championship

One of the best clips in this week's video playlist is this 9-minute segment from a May 1977 episode featuring "The Soul Train One-on-One Basketball Championship:"

With it being 1977, you might think NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton face off, or maybe college superstars Marques Johnson and Bernard King.  How about Marvin Gaye and Don Cornelius? And why not throw in Smokey Robinson as the ref?

I tried to find more info about this but came up short, unlike Gaye, who beats Cornelius despite giving up several inches in height. The Motown legend was enough of an athlete, or considered himself enough of an athlete, to try out for the Detroit Lions (better than Gary Danielson cutting a cover of "What's Going On"). It's tough to judge his skills here, though, because Cornelius seems gassed after the first bucket!

Was this an open invitational? Who else was in the tournament? Did Cornelius ever make a skyhook? All these questions remain open for now.

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