The buzzer sounds. The teammates’ hands link and raise up in
victory. The heads of the other team dip in defeat. The orange basketball is flung up in celebration. Young student-athletes dance around, releasing
a year’s worth of pent up stress due to basketball and (in theory) school-work. Another men’s basketball NCAA championship
has been won. The winning team gathers, exchanging high-fives
and hugs, as ladders are brought out to the court and positioned underneath the baskets. With a pair of scissors in hand, each member
of the team, from the players to coaches to the training staff, are given a chance to
climb the ladder and snip a tangible piece of this memory for themselves. By doing this, they are engaging in the tradition
known as the “cutting of the nets.” The basketball net, the very same one that
had shot after shot swish through pushing this team to victory, has now become a piece
of sports memorabilia. This custom of “cutting the nets” began
where many other basketball traditions had their beginnings — in the state of Indiana. When asked by his Indiana high school yearbook
what he believed his future occupation would be, Everett Case answered “basketball coach.” And this was in 1919 — before the NCAA,
before the NBA, and before basketball held the American sporting conscious like it does
today. For an 18 year old high school graduate to
answer that question with an occupation that was, well, not really an occupation at the
time, showed his undying passion for the game. Upon graduation, Case attended the University
of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Afterwards, he went to the University of Illinois
to study the finer points of the game under the great Ralph Jones, considered by many
to be the father of Indiana high school basketball. At the age of 22, Case was selected over 18
other applicants to become Frankfort High’s basketball and track coach. Within three years, Case had led the small
central Indiana high school to the state championship. Over his 16 season tenure at Frankfort, Case’s
teams would win the state championship three more times. After each championship, Case would remind
his boys to always cherish the memory and, perhaps, to take a little something that would
help them with that task. Often, that little something were the basketball
nets. In 1941, and at the age of 41, Everett Case
gave up being a high school basketball coach to join the Navy. It was said that Case, ever enthusiastic and
patriotic, joined in such a haste that he left his desk at the school fully stocked
and didn’t retrieve his belongings until he returned five years later. While in the Navy, Case was commissioned as
a senior-grade lieutenant and trained in Chicago and California. But his real talents were coaching and organizing
young men to play basketball. He was appointed the Navy’s assistant athletic
director and director of basketball. After the war, Case returned to the state
of Indiana to retrieve his belongings from his desk, but he did not stay long. Upon leaving the Navy, he took his coaching
expertise south and became the head coach at North Carolina State University. Case had immediate success at NC State, leading
them to the 1946 Southern Conference title. In 1947, NC State again won the conference
title. Upon victory, Everett Case, excited, proud,
and wanting to cherish the memory, harked back to his days at Frankfort High in Indiana. Remembering his players snipping the net,
he asked arena workers for a ladder. Unfortunately, there was no ladder to be found. Case, undeterred, had his players hoist him
up on their shoulders for him to grab his twine memento. The Hoosier tradition had found its way to
the national stage. Case would go on to become a coaching legend,
establishing NC State as a college basketball powerhouse. They would win four more Southern Conference
titles before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference (the ACC) and winning four more. He was named the ACC Coach of the Year three
times. Case is credited in turning North Carolina,
always football country, into a basketball-crazed state (for evidence, watch a Duke or UNC basketball
game). He popularized the postseason tournament,
convincing the ACC to put on their conference tournament in his home arena and the NCAA
to award the winner of the conference tournament automatic entrance into the NCAA championship
tournament. He is still the winningest coach in NC State
history and was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1964, Case was diagnosed with multiple
melanoma, a cancer of plasma cells. The disease is incredibly painful as it slowly
eats away at the bone marrow in one’s body. Case had to retire only two games into the
season. During that year’s ACC tournament, Case
was not on the sideline, but rather sat courtside and confided to a wheelchair. He watched as his NC State Wolfpack upset
the top-ranked – and interstate rival – Duke Blue Devils. When the final buzzer sounded, the players
walked over to Case and helped him out of his wheelchair. They placed their beloved coach on their shoulders
and watched as Case snipped his final net. Eighteen months later, Everett Case would
pass away, but the tradition of preserving lifelong college basketball memories with
a snipe of twine still persists to this day.

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Dennis Veasley

89 thoughts on “How Did the Tradition of Cutting the Nets in Basketball Start?”

  1. Today I found out… That I am 1st and you the reader are not! It feels so good, but you wouldn't know because you are not 1st. Thanks for reading this important announcement.

  2. See… We Hoosiers arent completely useless. We give corn, indy car racing, and weird traditions like this.

  3. It may be semantic, but Case had Multiple Myeloma, not Multiple Melanoma. One is in blood-plasma, the other in skin.

  4. As long as it's a North Carolina team, I don't care which team wins. Duke, Carolina, NC State- go get 'em!

  5. Hey, that's nothing. I've read that the original game of basketball from the Mayan and Aztec Mesoamerican cultures often ended with the execution of the losing team's captain or even the whole team.

    https://nbahoopsonline.com/Articles/2008-09/Mesoamericanball.html

  6. And I thought it was just something stupid. Like to know where and how it got started to turn cars over and start them on fire after the big game.

  7. welling to bet 80% or more of your audience didn't even know this was a thing lol

    PS: most of this wasn't even related to the subject, least not directly. Should of just been a facts about early basketball imo

  8. I have absolutely no knowledge or interest in basket ball but still found this interesting and even a little heart warming. I wonder where all that coaches snippets ended up? Probably worth a small fortune.

  9. In Chicago, after a good "Gang bang", we snip the panties off the girls involved and nail them on our mantle as memorabilia !!! 😉 Go Chicago!!!

  10. Wow people really never heard of this before 🤯I thought march madness was watched all over the country. I have always known about this tradition

  11. Just looked down at my soda from Wendy's and was surprised to see a net being cut on the cup. Nice coincidence

  12. Why is it when white men do something, its a reminder or memento. Anyone else does it, they say we’re stealing??

  13. too many war and military stories…. maybe the channel should have its name changed to today i bored out

  14. How did people handle snow in the middle ages? Like say I have a wagon or a horse and want to get from point to point in Sweden or wherever, are there crews of serfs clearing the king's highway?

  15. Hey I have a question for you.
    Why are people outside the US not specific about universities?
    I.e. "I studied at University" as opposed to I studied at a university, or the university, or the name of the university.

    As an American it sounds like there is only one University outside of America that everyone goes to haha. Over here all the universities are different so we specify which one we studied at.

  16. I thought this video was going to answer the question of why they destructively "cut" the net with scissors instead of just unlooping it from the hoop and keeping the entire net as a souvenir. That's what I always wondered.

  17. I played basketball in high school and college; I've long been a huge fan of the sport although I don't really follow NBA or NCAA anymore … and I've never even heard of this "tradition".

  18. It is multiple myeloma (not multiple melanoma) that is cancer of plasma cells.
    Melanoma is cancer arising in pigment (melanin) containing cells (melanocytes) in skin.

  19. Anyone who has not watch the espn 30 for 30 called survive and advance, watch it immediately. It's about an NC State coach and will inspire you and make you cry, guaranteed.

  20. Today I found out that only white tall people played basketball back in the day. Imagine how much better his teams would have been if they were all inclusive.

  21. They still do that for high school basketball championships in Indiana. Or at least they did when I was in high school. Wasn't on the team but watched the team win sectionals and regionals often.

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