The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread

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The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#1 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 23, 2020 2:53 am

Been meaning to make this thread for awhile. Just wanted to create a single location to reference wrt finding good basketball/NBA-related reading.
What I'm going to do is subscribe to my own thread, so when anyone posts a book (preferably with description/recommendation details), I'll add it to the OP [I'll just list them all in alphabetical order by title] and reference (parenthetical) which post in the thread contains the description. I'll update as often as possible, and I'll also link this thread in the "Project Consolidation" thread.

Basketball (and Other Things): a Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano (description needed)

Breaks in the Game by David Halberstam (post #7)

Cages to Jumpshots: Pro Basketball's Early Years by Robert W. Peterson (post #2)

Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond by Paul Shirley (post #10)

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum (post #6)

Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association by Terry Pluto (description needed)

My Losing Season: A Memoir by Pat Conroy (description needed)

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel (description needed)

The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and the Golden Age of Basketball by John Taylor (post #2)

Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980's by Jeff Pearlman (post #7)

Tall Tales: The Glory Days of the NBA by Terry Pluto (post #3)

Thinking Basketball by Ben Taylor (post #11)

West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West, Jonathan Coleman (description needed)

When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson, Jackie MacMullen (post #2)
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#2 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 23, 2020 3:07 am

Cages to Jumpshots: Pro Basketball's Early Years by Robert W. Peterson

I thought this was an excellent book to get a brief on the origins of the game, and on up until some of the eras we're more familiar with. It touches on the origin/invention of the game, but then mostly focuses on the "pro" game [such as it was] from the barn-storming exhibition leagues (mostly talking of the 20s and 30s), and ending after the advent of the shotclock.
Really provides a wealth of perspective and info on some mostly forgotten players and eras; I enjoyed it a lot.


The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and the Golden Age of Basketball by John Taylor

Perhaps marginally pro-Russell/anti-Chamberlain in sentiment, it nonetheless lays out a lot of interesting background on both individuals, while painting a sort of mesmerizing tale of their parallel careers and their contentious/competitive friendship. It also illustrates just how vital their rivalry was to the development [or survival?] of the NBA and basketball as a legitimate "big league" team sport.
As non-fiction sports books go, I liked this one a lot.


When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson, Jackie MacMullen

Much less "narrative" than The Rivalry, this one was more strictly about what happened in terms of basketball, though it does provide a bit of back-story for both individuals, talks about the transition of them sort of "handing over the reins" to Michael Jordan, as well as Magic's HIV diagnosis.
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#3 » by 90sAllDecade » Sat May 23, 2020 3:41 am

Image

https://www.amazon.com/Tall-Tales-Glory-Years-NBA/dp/0803287666

When I first made the change from casual fan growing up watching games, to someone who really enjoyed studying the game and history I remember this was likely the first basketball book I read.

Not sure how it would read to me today knowing what I know now about the game and history, but for a casual fan back then it was interesting to learn about historical players for the first time.
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#4 » by Im Your Father » Sat May 23, 2020 3:50 am

Not an NBA book, but Miracle at St. Anthony is very good.
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#5 » by bondom34 » Sat May 23, 2020 5:44 am

Obligatory "Thinking Basketball"
FoundANewSlant wrote:it's really fundamental defensive flaws exhibited here by Westbrook, PG, and Adams that put Melo into vulnerable positions here yet you can't recognize or explain it.

So Paul George is the reason Carmelo Anthony struggled on defense all these years...
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#6 » by mcraft » Sat May 23, 2020 12:19 pm

This was pretty good.


Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345520491/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ZsrYEbKD4G6P6

Can it be college related?
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#7 » by Goudelock » Sat May 23, 2020 1:37 pm

Breaks in the Game, by David Halberstam, is a fascinating peek into the state of NBA during the late-70s and early 80s. Despite being billed as one of the most egalitarian teams in the league's history, things were not quite as peaceful behind the scenes.

Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, by Jeff Pearlman, is the definitive book on the greatest team of the 1980s (fight me Celtics fans). It sheds light on the lesser-known players from the dynasty, and gives a glimpse into the debauchery and chaos that came with being Los Angeles' most glamorous team.
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#8 » by Texas Chuck » Sat May 23, 2020 2:09 pm

West by West
Pistol
The Rivalry
Basketball and Other Things
Loose Balls
My Losing Season
Can I Keep My Jersey
Black Lives Matter
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#9 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 23, 2020 2:18 pm

bondom34 wrote:Obligatory "Thinking Basketball"


Is this Ben Taylor's book? Any chance you can edit in a brief description?
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#10 » by trex_8063 » Sat May 23, 2020 2:31 pm

Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond by Paul Shirley

Paul Shirley averaged 10 pts/7 reb as a senior at Iowa State, was undrafted, and probably one of the worst players to ever actually carve out a journeyman career of sorts for himself. He's arguably THE worst player to actually play in the NBA in the last 30 years......a grand total of 121 career minutes [in which he has a career total of -0.2 WS (-0.085 WS/48)] for three different teams, spread out over three seasons. But "making it" in such a minimalist way perhaps allowed him to retain a practical "everyman" perspective while navigating the decidedly NOT everyman scenario that is being a professional basketball player. Makes for interesting reading, aided by him being a not half-bad writer with more than his share of wit and humour.
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#11 » by bondom34 » Sat May 23, 2020 5:27 pm

trex_8063 wrote:
bondom34 wrote:Obligatory "Thinking Basketball"


Is this Ben Taylor's book? Any chance you can edit in a brief description?

Yep, it's his.

If people are familiar with his posting they're familiar with the book mostly. It's more of a basketball philosophy book than a story, he talks about cognitive biases and how they effect how we often percieve the game (or sports in general) and how he views the game. He goes over the different biases that pop up (winning bias, being the "best player on a winning team", etc).
FoundANewSlant wrote:it's really fundamental defensive flaws exhibited here by Westbrook, PG, and Adams that put Melo into vulnerable positions here yet you can't recognize or explain it.

So Paul George is the reason Carmelo Anthony struggled on defense all these years...
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Re: The Official "Good Basketball Books" Thread 

Post#12 » by penbeast0 » Sat May 23, 2020 6:45 pm

"Loose Balls" by Terry Pluto is my all-time favorite. Read "Tall Tales" first but "Loose Balls" was just much more fun.

"Can I Keep My Jersey" was fun too, though not as memorable.

Trying to find an enjoyable book I remember on the NYC playground scene, maybe it was "Heaven is a Playground," by Rick Telander, I'd have to read a few pages to see.
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