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Original Issue


On its 25th anniversary, professional basketball sits for a unique portrait. Artist Douglas Gorsline views the sport's swirling combat as in a fractured looking glass, jaggedly juxtaposing fragments of action to create the illusion of motion. In his multiple images, colliding hips and elbows, twisting torsos and charging legs all hang on the edge of violence until the abrupt punctuation of the referee's whistle. On the following pages a literal cross section of fans around the arenas bears testimony to the game's own population explosion, and some of the famous participants are captured by the Gorsline technique. Finally, the artist interprets the tedium experienced by players in continous flight to one-night battlegrounds, their oversize frames crammed into planes that were built for the comfort of smaller men.

In slices of action from a dozen arenas, Knicks Willis Reed (19) and Walt Frazier (10), Buck Lew Alcindor (33) and Celt John Havlicek (17) are among those caught in distinctive moves.

To the pros, flying constantly, the season seems like one long approach to an endless runway.