The elegant brick courthouse, adorned with cupola, clock and weather vane, was built in 1767 after William Byrd, the acerbic Virginia aristocrat, likened the county’s 50-year-old wooden courthouse to “a common tobacco barn.”
“Belus Van Smawley came from the Appalachian foothills in western North Carolina. When Belus was 13, his father bought a small farm a half mile from an abandoned railroad depot along the old Southern Line.
“In that depot, the young boys of Ellenboro improvised a peach-basket gym to play in during inclement weather, and in the fall of 1934 Belus used his incredible jumping ability — developed by leaping up to touch high tree limbs while on his farm chores — to improvise a shot that no one had ever seen before. Off a dribble, he would stop suddenly, then with his back half to the basket leap high into the air, twisting to face the basket as he rose….”
— From “The Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball” by John Christgau (1999)
After starring at Appalachian State and in the early years of the NBA, Belus Van Smawley became a educator, retiring as principal at Mooresville Junior High. He died in 2003 at age 85.
I hadn’t known about Smawley’s role in the development of the jump shot until this story — it’s not mentioned in his citation at the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
“Merchants got tired of losing valuable cargoes to pirates and having to pay high insurance premiums….Governments were now charged with making the seas safe for legitimate commerce.
“When Edward Teach, who terrified sailors in the Caribbean, where he marauded as the pirate Blackbeard, turned honest, the colonial governor of North Carolina married him to his 14th wife!”
— From “The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism” by Joyce Appleby (2010)
“Some claim the phrase Final Four was first used to describe the final games of Indiana’s annual high school basketball tournament. But the NCAA, which has a trademark on the term, says Final Four was originated by a Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter, Ed Chay, in a 1975 article in the Official Collegiate Basketball Guide that [called] Marquette University ‘one of the final four’ in the 1974 tournament. The NCAA started capitalizing the term in 1978.”
— From “A Basketball Handbook” by Donald H. Brown (2007)
So you might say the Greensboro Coliseum hosted its only Final Four retroactively. That’s why this pinback button refers to the “NCAA championship” — sounds odd now, doesn’t it?
Regardless, it was a memorable tournament. N.C. State toppled UCLA in double-overtime, ending the Bruins’ streak of seven consecutive national titles, then defeated Marquette in the championship game.