Today marks anniversary of NBA game in Jackson

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bob Pettit, Easy Ed Macauley and Norm Stewart took the floor at Jackson High School 50 years ago today in a preseason exhibition of NBA teams.

All three were members of the St. Louis Hawks, who lost 86-82 in the exhibition game to the defending Western Division champions, the Fort Wayne Pistons.

The game was the final one of the 1956 preseason exhibition games for each team.

The Southeast Missourian reported that the game was a "rather ragged performance at times" for both teams.

"The floor was slick, too, which also helped slow things down somewhat," the Southeast Missourian reported. "Neverless, fans got their money's worth in basketball." Stewart, a rookie out of the Univerisity of Missouri who had played in Cape Girardeau in 1952 when his Shelbyville team lost 85-37 to Puxico in the Class B state finals, scored 17 points in the exhibition. Stewart only played one season of pro basketball and went on to be the head coach for the University of Missouri for 32 years.

Macauley, a St. Louis University graduate, scored 11 points. Heading into his eighth NBA season in 1956, Macauley had been obtained the previous season from the Boston Celtics in a deal that allowed the Celtics to obtain Bill Russell. Macauley was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.

Pettit, a 6-foot-9 player known as one of the NBA's first standout big men, played just in the final minutes of the exhibition and also scored 11 points. He finished his career as the first NBA player to score 20,000 points, and Pettit was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

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