Skip to main content
Original Issue


An athlete's public role is a wonderfully heady mixture of crowds and action and adulation. But behind this proud and dazzling existence is a more ordinary life. It is days and towns and tired hotels. It is the crisp smell of adhesive tape and the dull gray look of lockers. It is visitors' dressing rooms where the air always is damp and the bulbs usually are bare. It is a road show where the show is splendid and the road is "part of the job." In no sport is this contrast of scenes so sharp as in professional basketball. Here then is a portfolio of paintings of the traveling Cincinnati Royals. It shows the bright swirl of action that is their game (opposite) and then focuses on the things that rookies are surprised to find and fans never see in the life of BIG MEN ON THE MOVE

It is 2:30 p.m. in Boston, but this is a sport in which time is out of joint, so the Royals use the afternoon for sleeping

The locker room before a game, a gray-green world of private worry where each man tries to ready himself

The taping, a pregame ritual sometimes necessary to save ankles, sometimes merely a balm to the nerves