On the NBA Beat Ep. 144: Melissa Isaacson on STATE: “We’re Gonna Remember This the Rest of Our Lives”

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Longtime journalist Melissa Isaacson, who spent years reporting at the Chicago Tribune and ESPN, among other outlets, appears On the NBA Beat for a discussion devoted to her third book, “State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation.” It’s an intensely personal tale documenting her and her team’s four years as bona fide high school basketball pioneers that culminated in a state title. Join Missy as she details the inspiring journey.

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9:14-10:17 - “I think that we’ve had our days of incremental progress. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with demanding change. … In the same ways that getting a uniform was a huge step and playing in the boys’ gym was a huge step, and we were patient and we did take each victory as the big thing that it was, I don’t know that patience is something that we should have (today). Not to get all political, but we’ve been waiting for the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) to pass for some time now, and patience hasn’t done us any good.”

15:42-16:10 - “I walked out into this bitterly, bitterly cold, cold, cold night back to the car with my friend Connie, and she said, ‘Miss, you’ve gotta tell our story.’ And it just hit me that I did. And it wasn’t mine to tell. It was our story to tell, but I was gonna be the one to have to tell it. And it was gonna be quite an undertaking, a responsibility, but I knew at that point that I had to tell the story.”

28:54-30:26 - “It was her (Arlene Mulder’s) idea to stay away from us senior year because she wanted the new coach to bond with us. And then we won, and she got no credit, no thank you, no nothing, while the new coach got hallways and streets and awards named after him and was in the Hall of Fame and all these things. ...It took the reporting in the book to find out how unselfish she really was and how much a part of our victory she really was. … This is a woman that was really the heroine of the book, without question."

41:13-41:42 - “Books about girls are not generally put in the hands of boys. And so while I don’t in any way think this is a girls’ book – and I don’t – it’s probably not one that a lot of boys would naturally gravitate to unless they’re told to, and then I think they would find a lot of common themes and some inspiring themes to our story. So that’s the greatest thing that I heard.”

45:51-46:51 - “You really do remember the…holding up of the trophy in the middle of Assembly Hall in a court that we could never, ever, ever envision in our lives being allowed to stand on, much less play on. … I remember it vividly, and all just looking at each other, and we didn’t say one word. We just looked at each other and smiled, and it was like, ‘Damn, this is really just unbelievable. Who would have ever thought? We are gonna remember this the rest of our lives.’ You know what? We did! I did! I do!”

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