Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Greatest Basketball Player

Jibby Greenfield was the greatest basketball player the world has ever known. Jibby's moves were miraculous. "There was a game Jib never missed a shot. We kept passin' it to Jibby and he'd knock everything down," recalled Martin Schmitt, forward for the California Spinners. That was 1968, the year Jibby played for the Kansas City Slingers, the Idaho Men, and the California Spinners.
It was the Spinners that took the title that year against the Idaho Men. Jibby was extremely disciplined on the court. He played his heart out for all three teams, and teammates said that he was always the first guy at practice, and after everyone had left, you could still hear Jibby running up and down the bleachers. His shots were more accurate and his moves were more sure than the other stars on the league. The reason that Jibby played for 3 teams? Extreme gambling debt. While Jibby was the greatest basketball player in the world, he was a remarkably bad gambler. He'd make thousands of dollars a week playing basketball, but he'd bet on the games and lose more than he made. In the final game against the Idaho Men, he made a bet for $135,000 that he could score at least 88 points. While he posted a mezmerizing 72 points, capturing the championship title, he didn't have the money to back his bet and disappeared shortly thereafter. In 1969, the league changed the rules, forcing each player to stick to one team only. Even for his faults, Jibby Greenfield will always be remembered as the greatest basketball player the world has ever known.

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