Sweat drips off the brow of the shooter as he performs his free throw ritual. He’s been doing it since he was a freshman playing on the varsity team in high school. One, two, three dribbles. He spins the ball backwards twice. Kisses the leather. Prepares his shot. Visualizes the swish of the net. He releases the ball. Flying at a perfect angle, it soars through the net. The buzzer sounds. ERRRRRRRR. Victory. The crowd thunders. His teammates swarm him. They congregate around the hoop. Coach hands him a pair of scissors. His co-captain helps to hoist him up to the orange ring. Snip. Snip. Snip. The net falls. A tear of pride slides down his cheek.
The cutting of the basketball net by the victorious team at the end of important games is a tradition that’s been carried on for years. It all began in the 1920s at a famous Indiana boy’s high school basketball tournament. The victorious team would cut down and collect the basketball nets as souvenirs for winning the state championship.
During that time, Coach Everett Case’s Frankfort teams won four state titles between the years of 1925 and 1939. So, when Case returned to coaching basketball after touring with the Navy for six years, he wanted to keep the tradition strong. He took over as head coach for N.C. State and when he and his team won the Southern Conference title, they gathered around the net and cut it down in celebration.
Thus, the net-cutting tradition was born. Today, it’s a more formal affair with a special pair of scissors and a ladder designated for the occasion. But it’s a meaningful tradition nonetheless.
It’s sports traditions like these that inspire us to create durable, quality sportswear capable of seeing a team to victory. Russell Athletic prides itself on creating athletic apparel and athletic wear that you’d be proud to sport while cutting down the net.