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Boxed Out: The Untold Story of the Eastern Professional Basketball League

  • Ryan Polomski, Director
  • Syl Sobel, Producer
  • Jay Rosenstein, Producer
  • Ryan Polomski, Producer
  • Jesse Washington, Producer

Black and white image of Scranton Miners center Bill Spivey, a 7'2" white man wearing a white jersey with the number 40 on it, shooting a basketball during a game against the Allentown Jets

About the Project

The Eastern Professional Basketball League was the second-best pro basketball league in the country during the 1950s and early '60s when the NBA had 10 or fewer teams and only 100 players, an unwritten quota on Black players, and a ban on college basketball stars implicated in the 1951 gambling scandal. Some of the best players in the world played in small town gyms in blue collar towns like Scranton, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Sunbury, and Trenton for $100 a game, then drove back to their homes and weekday jobs in New York and Philly. We interview former Eastern League players, coaches, referees, and fans to tell the story of this fast-paced, exciting league that popularized the three-pointer, pioneered the high-scoring, up-tempo style of play that we enjoy today, and provided a home for talented players who were boxed out of the NBA.