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How Basketball Players Look under Glass

Shooting through the transparent backboard, the color camera catches pro ball's swirling action

When the world champion St. Louis Hawks met the Cincinnati Royals in Cincinnati recently, a nationwide TV audience wondered if the screen or their eyes were deceiving them. As the action flowed toward one end of the court, they caught frequent glimpses of what was, apparently, a man crouching behind one of the baskets and following the players' movements closely. Some guessed he was a third referee, making his calls from a new vantage point—not a bad idea at that. Actually, he was Photographer Hy Peskin, precariously straddling the steel backboard supports and aiming his color camera at the game below to produce the unique pictures on the opposite and following pages. Peskin used a 35-mm. wide-angle Minolta, synchronized with two Ascor speed lamps suspended from the ceiling. This enabled him to maintain his shaky perch with a minimum of equipment. "It took a little while," Peskin reports, "before I stopped flinching each time the ball flew up at me—I was only a few feet from that glass backboard. The players got used to my presence quickly." The game itself was an easy one (100-89) for the Hawks who, close to mid-point in the season now, are clearly in command of the Western Division race and headed for the defense of their title in subsequent playoffs. Only the Detroit Pistons appear to have any chance to catch them. In the East, after a slow start, the Boston Celtics are beginning to demonstrate why having the league's best rebounder (Bill Russell) and its best backcourt (Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman) makes them the strongest contender for the Hawks' crown. Another playoff series between these teams—the third in a row—is likely.

Hoping vainly for miss, Royals' Jack Twyman (center) and Dave Piontek (lower right) watch free throw by Hawks' Lovellette (34) swish through cords.

Converging under the basket are all 10 Hawks and Royals as Cincinnati's Jack Parr lofts a soft hook shot over Clyde Lovellette's desperate attempt to block.

Floating gracefully toward basket's rim, the Hawks' rugged forward, Cliff Hagan, comes in for layup as Cincinnati's Jim Palmer waits hopefully for rebound.