``Ghetto kids can't handle authority,'' Rodney says now. ``And you know why? It's because 90 percent of them never had fathers. I know because I never had one.'' I watch George Murden's style - berating his players, pushing them on, demanding silence, obedience - his eyes carrying always the threat of violence.... I watch his players as he scolds them during a break, see the respect that comes from being important enough to be scolded.

For many ghetto boys, George Murden implies, the first contact with a father figure is through their basketball coach. Rick Telander, `Heaven is a Playground,' Simon & Schuster, 1976

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