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Original Issue


Three clues: Twyman, Cincinnati, basketball. Easy, right?

Surprise—the answer is Lisa. Starting her rookie season as SI's pro basketball reporter, Jack's 25-year-old daughter is bringing back to the game one of its most distinguished names.

That isn't something that could have been predicted. As she grew up in Cincinnati, where her dad had starred for the university and then played 11 years for the Royals, the basketball game Lisa and her three siblings played most often was one of their own invention called Court Jester: They would stand flat-footed and heave indelicate set shots at the rim, shouting "Who am I?" Father was not amused.

"I played one year in high school and I was pathetic," Lisa recalls. "I think I made one shot all season. The coach kept telling me to open my eyes next time."

She did take successful shots at other sports—running, cycling, field hockey and competitive horseback riding—and her bent for such different strokes continued when she traveled east to attend Dartmouth College. There she rowed for three years and ultimately captained the women's eight-oared varsity crew while majoring in policy studies. With her boatmates she took marathon bike trips through Vermont's hills and gruelling runs up New Hampshire's mountains. Lisa's catholic approach to sports (her most recent enthusiasm is squash) reflects her dad's. "I play tennis a couple of times a week, and golf," says Jack, who is now chairman of a Dayton-based wholesale grocery firm. "I even jog some. I do still shoot baskets a little bit, but not much."

After graduation from Dartmouth in 1979, Lisa became the editor of the Eastern Hills Journal, a suburban Cincinnati weekly, and last year she joined SI. Her first beat was track, but this autumn, when the position of pro basketball reporter needed filling, it seemed natural to pencil in the name Twyman.

Lisa's sudden return to roundball prompted a few reminiscences. "The thing I remember best is Dad retiring," she says. "He jumped through one of those stupid paper hoops with a 27 on it. And they gave him, among other things, a dog. It was a beagle, and it came with a little dog house. I stayed home from school for a week to be with that dog. They also gave Dad a year's supply of popcorn and I think I ate all of it." Jack remembers his retirement night, too, but has a more vivid memory of the 39 points he pumped in against the Knicks than he has of the puppy or popcorn.

"The best part of his basketball career for us was when he was broadcasting for ABC," says Lisa. "When he was playing, he got a pregame steak and we got tuna. But when he was broadcasting, he took me to a game in Boston and we had room service at the Ritz."

When Lisa made her first tour of the NBA's training camps this fall, she found that nothing much had changed since her years around the Royals, "except that the players are a lot taller than when Dad was playing."