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View Count: 71 |  Publish Date: April 30, 2013
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Herb Magee recalls basketball days at historic prison
Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013, 11:04 PMAt first, Herb Magee wasnt sure.
It had been more than half a century since Magee stood in this spot, between Cell Blocks 5 and 6 inside Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue. The sights all around him quickly began matching up to his memories. Magee could envision inmates sitting on a low-hanging roof over a cell block, watching a basketball game, a game he was playing in.
"This is it," Philadelphia Universitys Hall of Fame coach decided.
Magee had been there a couple of times to play against inmates, once in high school, once in college. Tufts of grass had mostly taken over the cracked asphalt court. The two backboards were gone. The poles that had held them up were all that was left, about 70 feet apart.
"The guard tower was right there," Magee said, "and these guys screaming at you, right here. No pressure."
Did his team win?
"We did win, but they were pretty good," Magee said of his first visit. "We had some good guys on our team, older guys. I played on an independent basketball team. Guys who hung in bars, like the Cherry Tree Inn, the Pennsylvania Railroad Post. I was probably the youngest guy on the team. . . . They werent intimidated coming here."
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Time: 5:24  |  News Code: 261569  |  Site: philly.com
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