Memorial Table Bases Finishes Classic Art Real Marble Custom Art Awards Metal Scale Model

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Racial Tolerance and Integrity in Basketball Award
Sculptor: Karoy, Marble Classics Artist
A modern concept maquette for the Joe Lapchick Character Award that was scrapped in favor of the more realistic sculpture concept.
Size: 22" x 14" x 10.5" (final trophy measurements)
Location: Bulgaria
Material: Plasticine maquette with an internal wireframe.
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Find more about our sculptors: Dave Damon and Valentin.

The racial tolerance, integrity, and core of Lapchick's character was obvious back in the 1920's when the Celtics were touring with the Rens, the great black basketball team from New York. When the old Celtics barnstormed with the New York Rens, a black team, Lapchick and Tarzan Cooper would embrace before every game.

After a game in a segregated town in rural Missouri, the promoter handed Lapchick $500 in cash and gave Bob Douglas, the leader of the Rens, a check (instead of cash) for the same amount. Knowing the Rens could never cash that check in that town, Lapchick did the team a favor by trading the man his cash for the check.


Since the early 1940's a new system of sports gambling involving point spreads had become popular. You didn't bet on whether the team would win or lose, which was often pretty obvious, but on how much they would win or lose by. If you bet on a team that was an 8-point favorite and they won by ten, you'd win. But if they won by 6, you'd lose. As a result, gamblers appeared to have a better chance of winning, and betting boomed. The problem was that now, it was easier for players to orchestrate a winning bet, and there was money in it for them.

About five years before the St. John's, 1956-57 scandal, in February of 1951 a scandal from another team ripped the foundation from under college basketball and reduced Garden crowds to 3,000 or 4,000. Clair Bee and Nat Holman, well-known New York coaches, were destroyed. Holman and Bee didn't fix games but it happened on their watch, and now they were gone because of it.

Lapchick was known for keeping a scrapbook with clippings about the college gambling scandals of the early 1950's, and he demanded that every player read it. In his sophomore season at St. John's, 1956-57, Gus Alfieri witnessed troubling things. Two seniors were playing with insolence, tossing the basketball out of bounds, slacking on defense, and laughing at their teammates. In his book, Alfieri describes how Lapchick was slow to believe why two star seniors, Bill Chrystal and Mike Parenti, were botching passes and evading rebounds while playing in a basketball game against Utah's Brigham Young University (BYU). They were later revealed as dumpers [nowadays that's called "throwing a game"].

Alfieri called Mike Parenti in upstate New York decades later for an interview. "At first, all we had to do was keep the score under the point spread, but once we lost a game, three was no turning back," Parenti said, adding: "I have paid the price. I'm sorry for the heartaches I caused." It was incomprehensible to Lapchick, who left school at 13 to work in a factory and would have loved a formal education, that anybody could do such a thing.

Previous Page | Next Page - Custom Engraved Hall of Fame Trophy Award

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Page I - Custom Engraved Trophy Award Sculpting Services
Page II - Joe Lapchick Character Award Trophy Presentation

Page III - The Early Days of Professional Basketball Statue
Page IV - Racial Tolerance and Integrity in Basketball Award
Page V - Legendary Coaching Style of Coach Joe Lapchick
Page VI - Successful Basketball Coach of the NBA Knicks
Page VII - 2009 Joe Lapchick Character Award Winners
Page VII - Character in Basketball Engraved Trophy Award
Page IX - NBA and College Basketball Legend Award

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