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Basketball
Cover of Basketball
Basketball
A Love Story
Borrow Borrow
A sweeping and revelatory history of basketball, drawing upon hundreds of hours of interviews with the greatest players, coaches, executives, and journalists in the history of the game.
In an effort to tell the complete story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, acclaimed authors Jackie Macmullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores have compiled nearly a thousand hours' worth of interviews with a staggering number of basketball greats. They've talked to hundreds of legendary players, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson, and spoken with renowned coaches, including Phil Jackson and Coach K, as well as numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists. Most impressive was the extraordinary quality of the interviews. Again and again, players spoke candidly about secrets and told stories they'd never before discussed on the record.
The book that grew out of those interviews is an extraordinary project and quite possibly the most ambitious basketball book ever written. At once a definitive oral history and something far more literary and intimate, this is the never-before-told story of how basketball came to be, and about what it means to those who've given their lives to the game.
Read by James Fouhey, Jim Frangione, Sullivan Jones, Pete Larkin, January LaVoy, and Carol Monda
A sweeping and revelatory history of basketball, drawing upon hundreds of hours of interviews with the greatest players, coaches, executives, and journalists in the history of the game.
In an effort to tell the complete story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, acclaimed authors Jackie Macmullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores have compiled nearly a thousand hours' worth of interviews with a staggering number of basketball greats. They've talked to hundreds of legendary players, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson, and spoken with renowned coaches, including Phil Jackson and Coach K, as well as numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists. Most impressive was the extraordinary quality of the interviews. Again and again, players spoke candidly about secrets and told stories they'd never before discussed on the record.
The book that grew out of those interviews is an extraordinary project and quite possibly the most ambitious basketball book ever written. At once a definitive oral history and something far more literary and intimate, this is the never-before-told story of how basketball came to be, and about what it means to those who've given their lives to the game.
Read by James Fouhey, Jim Frangione, Sullivan Jones, Pete Larkin, January LaVoy, and Carol Monda
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    Celtics vs. Lakers: Russell's Dominance, West's Heartbreak, and Those Balloons

    The NBA may bask in an embarrassment of riches today, but the infancy of professional basketball left players so poorly compensated they required off-season jobs to pay their bills. Early NBA stars played before sparse, often raucous crowds that hurled insults—and occasionally objects—at the opponents. Travel was arduous, interest was tepid, and amenities were scarce.

    The Boston Celtics played 10 forgettable seasons before their fortunes changed on April 30, 1956, the day coach Red Auerbach dealt the No. 7 pick, along with Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan, to St. Louis for the No. 2 pick.

    Auerbach fervently hoped to draft William Fenton Russell, a defensive specialist who played at the University of San Francisco, but first he had to convince the Rochester Royals, who had the No. 1 pick, not to snag Russell themselves. Celtics owner Walter Brown intervened, dialing up Royals owner Les Harrison and offering him a week of free performances by the Ice Capades (which Brown owned). Squeamish about Russell's demands for a $25,000 signing bonus, Harrison agreed to pass on the center.

    Auerbach got his man, along with territorial pick Tommy Heinsohn and second-round steal K. C. Jones. The three future Hall of Famers, along with incumbent point guard Bob Cousy, ushered in a wave of dominance that remains unmatched in professional basketball history.

    BOB COUSY (Point Guard, Boston Celtics; 13‑Time All-Star; 1957 NBA MVP): The NBA was no glamour league at the start. But none of us complained. We were getting paid to play a child's game, and that was good enough.

    TOMMY HEINSOHN (Power Forward, Boston Celtics; 6‑Time NBA All-Star): If you played a game in Rochester [New York], the next night you were going to play in Fort Wayne [Indiana]. There was no direct way to get there. They would make an arrangement with one of the railroads that you took this train at 11 o'clock at night, and it would get into Indiana and it would pass through cornfields about 20 miles outside of Fort Wayne. They would stop the train, and you'd get off in the cornfield and thumb a ride from the high school kids to Fort Wayne.

    COUSY: In Syracuse they'd boo you [even] if the bone was sticking out of your leg. There was no inch of sportsmanship in any way. They were hostile. Some fan got carried away, he must have had a couple of pops before the game, and this guy got onto the floor in a timeout. I took him and I shoved him in the middle of our huddle. Loscy [Jim Loscutoff] and everybody took a shot at him. They picked him back up and dumped him out, and they all ended up in court. I didn't have to go. Heinsohn, to this day, blames me.

    HEINSOHN: Carl Braun was my roommate in 1962—everyone had a roommate on the road—and we got to L.A. and there weren't enough beds. They took some cots and moved them into this [room] and that one, and Carl Braun was left out. Here he is, a five-time All-Star, and he doesn't have a bed to sleep in. Red starts ranting and raving, "We had reservations, blah-blah-blah," so the manager says, "All I can think of is, I'll put this cot in the ballroom, and the first room that becomes available tomorrow morning, he can have it." Carl goes to the ballroom on the cot, falls asleep, and at 9 o'clock in the morning, he wakes up in the middle of a Communion breakfast.

    TOM "SATCH" SANDERS (Power Forward, Boston Celtics; 8‑Time NBA Champion): One of the first things that I encountered with the Celtics, which was a mystery to me, was that half the guys smoked. I said: How could they play at the level they were playing? How could...

About the Author-
  • JACKIE MACMULLAN is a television analyst for ESPN and a senior writer for ESPN.com. She has been covering basketball for more than three decades, beginning at the Boston Globe, where she was the first female sports columnist in the paper's history. She covered the National Basketball Association from 1995 to 2000 for Sports Illustrated and has authored four books, including New York Times bestsellers When the Game Was Ours and Shaq Uncut. In 2010, MacMullan became the first woman to win the Curt Gowdy Award by the Basketball Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to basketball.
    RAFE BARTHOLOMEW is the author of Pacific Rims. His writing has appeared in Grantland, Slate, the New York Times, Chicago Reader, Deadspin, and other leading online and print publications. His stories have twice been honored in the Best American Sports Writing series.
    DAN KLORES has been awarded the Independent Spirit Award for best director of the year for his classic documentary 'Crazy Love,' and the Peabody for 'Black Magic.' Four of his films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and he has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Daily News, Esquire, and other publications. He is the author of Roundball Culture, and three off-Broadway plays.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Based on the ESPN series, this audiobook is helped and hindered by its television origins. It's helped because the listener is familiar with the subjects: basketball stars--from players Magic, Kobe, and LeBron to coaches Phil Jackson, Pat Summit, Gino Auriemma, and dozens more. Compiled from thousands of hours of oral histories, the stories provide much to learn and enjoy. But the production is hindered by its adherence to the sound-bite nature of TV. And the absence of the actual voices so present in the televised version can be distracting. No matter how earnest their effort, the various narrators come across as inauthentic. That said, those who made America's game a worldwide phenomenon are given their due. A.D.M. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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A Love Story
Jackie MacMullan
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