VIDEO: Peps Neuman Was Told She Was “Stupid” For Wanting to Play Basketball

Elvera "Peps" Neuman. Howard Megdal photo)
Elvera "Peps" Neuman. Howard Megdal photo) /

Elvera “Peps” Neuman knew early on that she wanted to play basketball professionally. The only problem for the Minnesota native?

There were no women’s leagues when she finished high school, few opportunities even in college, and her own school superintendent in Eden Valley, Minnesota called her “stupid” for wanting to play.

Decades later, after a storied career barnstorming, creating her own team—the Arkansas Gems—and once scoring 108 points in a game against men, Neuman no longer has to justify her aspirations. She’s lived them.

Neuman’s story is part of the new book by John Molina, “Barnstorming America”, a comprehensive look at the women who made a basketball life for themselves before Title IX.

These days, Neuman can be found at University of Minnesota women’s basketball games, in the stands and as the “Blanket lady” who runs along the court waving a blanket to inspire the team. She also name-checked Lindsay Whalen when asked for a comp from today’s game.

Oh, and you’ll find her name on the high school gym where she’d once been discouraged by a superintendent who couldn’t see the future.

Here’s Peps Neuman, telling her own story. You’re not going to want to miss it.