SLAMTV: History Lesson

words Tzvi Twersky

And no matter what we say our religion is
Whether it’s Islam, Christianity
Judaism, Buddha-ism, old school-ism or new school-ism
If we’re not schooling the youth with wisdom
Then the sins of the father will visit the children
And that’s not keepin’ it real
That’s keepin’ it…wrong

-Gang Starr, “Robin Hood Theory

The NBA predates Michael Jordan by a good 30+ years. But based on the way a lot of young folk talk about the game, you wouldn’t know it.

Mention George Mikan’s exploits to a bunch of youngsters, they’ll probably look back at you with blank stares, not knowing the name, let alone the game. Well-schooled pupils may know the drill, but even they don’t know Mikan.

Talk about a shot clock-less NBA, a few of them may say, “I know college ball hasn’t had the 35er for that long of a time,” but even fewer would know how and when it came into existence in the NBA.

Discuss a League without a three in the key rule, a League where big men could set up shop in the middle because there were no real big men, and shorties would think you were weaving tall tales.

Reminisce about the days when there were no threes, minors, and young majors, may think you’re trying to play them.

Let them know about Bill Russell grabbing 25 boards on the regular, about Oscar Robertson averaging a triple-double, about Wilt scoring 50 a night, about the Knicks dominance in the late ’60s and early ’70s, dudes will think you’re toking too powerful a potion.

Drop knowledge on how Dolph Schayes scored 25 points a night on two-handed set-shots and high-arcing hooks…forget about it—cats would think you thought them gullible.

And even when people know some of the classic names, they don’t really know. They don’t know the stories behind the names, behind their games.

There’s a bottom line here, a point being made. Young ballers are suffering from a miseducation. It’s as plain to see as Shaq’s free throw problem.

But unlike Shaq’s touch—which has proven to be unfixable—Talani Goodson is running in like the Board of Education with the solution. His project, Courtside Jones, is here to unlock the NBA’s rich history to today’s Internet savvy youth.


SLAM 138 introduced our print readers to Talani Goodson. But if you’re reading about him for the first time now, here’s a proper intro–taken from the mag.

Talani Goodson  grew up playing ball near his Bronx home. Day and night, weekday and weekend, Goodson hit local parks to work on his game. He did that throughout his childhood until he came to the realization that GOODSON wasn’t going to make the back of an NBA jersey. So he put down the ball and picked up a video camera.

Now, a few short decades removed from his days as a park mainstay, Goodson has found a way to combine his affinity for hoops and experience in multimedia with his new project, Courtside Jones

Broken up into short video segments available by subscription online, Courtside Jones is the 21st century’s answer to the sports documentary. From interviews with historic players like Dolph Schayes to trips down memory lane with the likes of Micheal Ray Richardson and Willis Reed, Goodson has compiled a series full of concise, candid and crisp glimpses into the NBA, as told by former NBA players.

“It’s one thing to read about historic happenings in the NBA or to hear about it through folklore, but it has a whole other perspective when you hear directly from the person themselves,” says Goodson. “It’s one thing to hear about Rick Barry, but footage of Rick Barry directly telling his story is priceless. So I pulled in my background in film and sports and just intertwined everything with this project to make that happen.”

Courtside Jones is the product of one man’s love affair with the game. Offering stunning background settings, high production quality and “real stories from regrets to glories,” it’s sure to spark a similar fire in all its viewers.


A while back, Talani dropped by the SLAM Dome.  He brought his computer, and five or so of his first episodes with him. Suffice to say, the quality of the film blew us away. But more than that, how open the players are with him, how easily they converse with him, how they call him asking to be featured next episode—that’s what sold us. That’s what convinced us that he could have a series of these episodes. Hell, it convinced us NBA TV could use original programming like this.

For now, though, Talani hosts his ever-expanding collection of episodes on his own site. And for a small subscription fee, you can view them all, plus more as they roll out hot off his Mac.

To give you a little taste of what Courtside Jones has to offer, and to show you what kind of history course Talani’s offering, we’ve been given an episode to share with you starring Dolph Schayes.

Know the name? Sure you do. Know the story? Not until you’ve seen this.


Want to subscribe to Courtside Jones? You can do so here.

Want to visit the site and learn more? You can do so here.

Want to know where the site’s at so you can reference it in the future? We got you taken care of. Courtside Jones has been given a tab underneath our MEDIA category near the top of the homepage.

For now, though, watch this short vid and let Courtside Jones take you to school.