So we used to have "Manu" Ginóbili and his companions of the Golden Generation to the exploiters to sometimes forget what happened earlier. Much earlier.
At a time like – historical, social, economic and sporting – had nothing to do with it. But at the time of the review it is also valuable and even emotional, it takes us to our origin and the "seed" of what was the greatness of the Argentine basketball.
Especially for the 1950 generation ] who conquered a worldwide title – although an "invoice" differs from today's competitions – and that in Oscar Alberto Furlong had its larger symbol.
"Pillín" Furlong, who stops dying this Monday in 90 years, it was a really great Argentine sport in an entire amateur show . And when his adventure in basketball was over, he also went with his hierarchy ̵
Born on October 22, 1927 Furlong was also a symbol of gymnastics and fencing of Villa del Parque, the team that marked the epoch with the big city basketball. Father Oscar Furlong was the founder of the beloved park, but the "Pillin" pop his brother placed him – initially dedicated to tennis and boxing. "It was like this, until cadetchef Máximo Morán invited me to go to basketball and I won a place in the junior team. He did not want anyone to say he played for residents because he was the club president's son," he recalled.
And it was not necessary that they immediately noticed their unusual characteristics. Casimiro González Trilla, one of the current coaches at that time, defined him: "Furlong was an inspiring player, unbalanced by his ability, he could play anywhere in the court. In the national team he was always number one, personality and respect among his teammates. "
We talked about a time when many basketball courts were outdoors and even played on bricks …
] It formed an Argentinian selection that made history because it had the opportunity for the first international confrontations . One of the first important experiences was the London Olympics in 1948, with the world emerging from the tragedy of World War II. "After winning easy against Egypt and Switzerland, we played the United States. We thought we would lose 30 or 40 points because the physical difference was overwhelming. They had six or seven players over 2 meters while I, with 1.87, was the highest in Argentina, says Furlong. He also reminded words from the legendary Danish can: "Defend everything you can ball, the only way to get your lungs a little nervous." With that conviction, they went to court and surprised the favorites: in the absence of one minute they were alike, but the USA ended with a tight 59-57 triumph.
"After the match, Adolph Rupp, the Kentucky coach, offered me professional in the United States, offering me $ 10,000 for six months. I replied that it was impossible. After an unforgettable day, I want to continue playing for my country more than ever. "
Furlong's two passions
And later, he would also refuse offers to join the NBA when calling on the Minnesota Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers antecedent). The move to professionalism at that time would have meant that not only leaving the neighborhood and its club but the selection contests. Most appreciated by Furlong and by all.
The same base of the national team became more confident in the World Cup in 1950, which was played at home. Although the United States did not come up with its "stars" at the moment still ranked as favorite. In the finals, Furlong was the center of the Argentine quintet, who also counted his inseparable rival and friend "Negro" González and Viau as bases, Contarbio and Uder as "strikers."
"We practiced good, but our expectation was now semifinals. We attacked a block, we had seen him do all the stars in California and we copied them. We were faster than them, but we did not have their height or their physical condition.
The night of November 3, 1950 in Luna Park was recorded as one of the memorable moments of the history of Argentine sports. There was a convincing 64 to 50 over the United States and Furlong was once again a figure, with 20 points in the deciding game and an average of 11.2 throughout the World Cup. It was "Torchens Night" when the audience came down on Corrientes Avenue to celebrate the opening ceremony.
Next goal was the Olympic medal in the Helsinki Games in 1952. And Argentina was close but frustrated by one of his classical rivals: Uruguay. "We lost with them in the previous phase, although we were 9 points ahead with three minutes left. Because of the defeat we had the United States in the semifinals instead of Russia … and they left us. And for the bronze medal we lost again with Uruguay. "It was fourth place, in short, the best of Argentina until half a century later Ginobili, Nocioni, Oberto y cía. They will reach glory in Athens …
From left to right: Ricardo González, Oscar Furlong, Omar Monza and Ignacio Poletti, in production 2010, 60 years of world title. (Photo: Gustavo Garello)
Lastly, Furlong accepted a proposal from the United States, but not from professional basketball but from the University, who played in three Seasons for Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, for the NCAA Championship. He stayed there between 1953 and 1956, but he did not stop leading the national team, as he won the silver medals in the Pan American Games 1951 and 1956, as well as the university world title in Dortmund (1953). He returned to play in his beloved Park – his farewell to the Uruguayan team Welcome – but everything was accelerated at a time of political persecution. Certain signs of the liberating revolution – which had overthrown Perón – were unfaithful to the athletes. And in the specific case of basketball, following a statement by a famous commission of inquiry, they declared "professional" to members of the national team.
Furlong went away from basketball, went into tennis and at the same time started a successful business career. After working in PR in IKARenault, he founded his own transport company in the late 50's. The tennis was with Furlong, later as one of its main leaders, at the time Enrique Morea promoted the National School (it emerged Clerc, Madruga). Furlong was a remarkable captain of the Davis Cup between the 60's and 70's and the impulse of "boom" as Guillermo Vilas provoked – Argentina first arrived at the Silver Salad Bowl semifinals. As a captain, he had his disagreements with another personality that grew and overwhelmed like Vilas. And he preferred to move away. His enormous sports quality and his no less enormous human quality will remain forever.
Tennis, the second passion
Furlong had been playing tennis since he was very young. And once finished his career in basketball, decided to return to court competitions. With more than 30 years he came to occupy 7th place in the national ranking of singles, even though he had doubles. And he was one of the most important leaders of national tennis, vice president of the association and captain of the Davis Cup team between 1966 and 1978. In that cycle, coinciding with the "Vilas Revolution", Argentina reached the first half of the Davis Cup in 1977, which falls to mighty Australia.