(Image: Mens Journal)
Our store in sunny Venice, California has a backyard with its very own custom ping pong table, and everyone is welcome to come play. But ping pong wasn’t always all fun and games. The sport was once almost exclusively for hard-nosed hustlers, and its king was Marty “The Needle” Reisman.
Forget practicing in a suburban basement. Marty grew up on the Lower East Side long before tenements turned into condos, and by the age of 14 he was making his living in smokey haunts around Manhattan.
No matter how many international tournaments he won, Marty’s bread and butter was money matches at places like the Riverside Table Tennis Courts, which he bought and re-named Reisman’s. He refused to ever play with anything but an old school hardwood rubber-covered paddle. So the sound of his games never lost the intense bap bap bap tattoo of two wiseguys in an argument.
Today Reisman is 82, and he can still be found at ping pong parlors around New York City. Marty, if you’re ever in California, come by Jack Spade and play anytime.