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Back in 1990, Bob Kuska, science writer for the National Institutes of Health, was moonlighting as a freelance sports scribe. He planned to pen a provocative feature story profiling the five hoopsters with the maddest skills then relegated to D.C. playgrounds. Kuska had hoped to publish his piece in the local alt-weekly rag. Yet more than a decade later, we’re still waiting for the first draft. Kuska admits that he “never got far” on the long-overdue assignment. He got sidetracked, researching and documenting “the long history of basketball in Washington.” A likely excuse. Until Kuska turns something in, we’ll just have to settle for his new book. Hot Potato: How Washington and New York Gave Birth to Black Basketball and Changed America’s Game Forever chronicles the emergence of basketball among segregated African-American communities in New York and the District in the early 1900s. Kuska took the historical angle after scrolling through microfilm in the Library of Congress and coming across this enlightened headline from 1911: “Colored Athletes Show Proficiency in Basket-Ball.” By that time, hoops mania had infected the District’s black population, and it had been intentionally introduced. This, Kuska found out, was the work of Afro-American phys-ed instructor Edwin Bancroft Henderson, who once theorized: “When competent physical directors and equal training are afforded the colored youth, the white athlete will find an equal or superior in nearly every line of athletic endeavor.” Hear how Henderson’s vision came true when Kuska speaks at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Chris Shott)