"Memorial Gym, 1963. One of those bad winter nights. Black ice covered the highway from Spokane. Stanford's charter bus, heading for a game against WSU in Pullman, aborted in Spangle when the driver refused to continue. But, Memorial Gym was packed and no Spokane seatholder was absent. Marv Harshman, the WSU coach, had a night off on the Stanford no-show and he wasn't going to miss watching Gus Johnson either. He sat in the stage-end seats with his wife Dorothy.Another quote from the same article...
On one break Gus lead the play for a change. A long pass sailed over his head and bounced just inside the endline. "Maybe," I thought, "Gus can catch up, blindly hook it back and save himself from crashing the stage wall." Wrong. Gus overtook the ball with a mightly leap past the boundary, calmly turned as if seated in a midair swivel chair and underhanded the ball to a trailing Vandal for an easy basket. By now, Gus was floating over the fourth or fifth row of the stage-end seats. He descended as softly as a butterfly with sore feet, landing so lightly in Dorothy Harshman's lap that he scarcely needed to say "excuse me."
"Memorial Gym, 1963: On the dribble, Gus popped up at midcourt looking to throw a long pass. Somehow, his checker anticipated and jumped with him. Gus seemed to have two choices, repeal gravity or travel. Instead, Gus fired a half court, behind-the-back pass as he descended and curved it around the opponent and into a teammates hands."That gives you some idea of Gus Johnson on the basketball court. How great was Gus Johnson? In the same article, the GM of the Lakers in the 60's said that "when we passed Gus Johnson in the first round, we blew two or three NBA championships." Gus was that good. While Gus played for the losing Bullets for most of his professional carreer which caused his fame to be not as great as it could have been, the admiration Gus received from his peers was almost incomparable.
Gus Johnson (43) drives to the hoop. (University of Idaho Photo Archives)
(University of Idaho Photo Archives)