The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

Pinned on September 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm by Stephanie Kozak

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The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

Foreword by Malcolm Gladwell
 
Newly updated with fresh takes on LeBron, Kobe, the Celtics & more*
 
*Including even more footnotes!

Bill Simmons, the wildly opinionated and thoroughly entertaining hoops addict known to millions as ESPN.com’s Sports Guy, has written the definitive book on the past, present, and future of the NBA. From the age-old question of who actually won the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to the one about which team was truly the best of all time, Simmons opens—and then closes, once and for all—every major pro basketball debate. Then he takes it further by completely reevaluating not only how NBA Hall of Fame inductees should be chosen but how the institution must be reshaped from the ground up, the result being the Pyramid: Simmons’s one-of-a-kind five-level shrine to the ninety-six greatest players in the history of pro basketball. And ultimately he takes fans to the heart of it all, as he uses a conversation with one NBA great to uncover that coveted thing: The Secret of Basketball.

Comprehensive, authoritative, controversial, hilarious, and impossible to put down (even for Celtic-haters), The Book of Basketball offers every hardwood fan a courtside seat beside the game’s finest, funniest, and fiercest chronicler.Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: The Book of Basketball is a 700-page work of hoops genius that would make Dr. James Naismith beam proudly – and probably blush. Author Bill Simmons, best known as ESPN.com’s “The Sports Guy,” explores the NBA with hilarious insight, brilliant analysis, and a bevy of irreverent footnotes. Simmons is a fan first – a fact best explained in an entertaining foreword by Malcolm Gladwell – and writes from the stands, not the press room. His knowledge and passion for the game provide him with few peers, yet his voice represents those who stick by their teams through thick and thin. As a result, The Book of Basketball is not just a tribute to hardwood heroes, but also a celebration of yelling at TV sets, revering lucky jerseys, and holding our breath until the final buzzer sounds. Throw in pages of nearly-insane statistical breakdowns (including a projected boxscore from the movie Teen Wolf), and it’s easy to see why fans of all levels should clear shelf space for this instant classic.  —Dave Callanan


Comments

Charbel Eid says:

Fantastic read, absurd amount of information I need to preface this by saying that I’ve been reading Bill Simmons for over 8 years now, before the fame, before the podcasts and almost frightening fan following.I’ve seen him mature from the old Boston Sports Guy to this all-media presence now, and in the process, his writing has greatly improved. The culmination of such an improvement is this wonderful book, “The Book of Basketball”.I managed to get an early copy of this book, and spent the next 48 hours plowing through it as fast as I could. It’s very clear that Simmons put everything he had into the book. There aren’t a lot of loose words around. Even the genitalia jokes are well-constructed. Yes, it’s pretty good.The basis of this book is determining who mattered in the NBA. Which teams, players, coaches, etc. played the biggest role in getting us to where we are today, in shaping our perception of what it takes to win in the NBA, and how we remember different players and events. It’s very interesting to see him go back into the 60s and 70s and try to write about Walton, Russell, and Chamberlain and how they were perceived then, and try to get to see what forces created and changed that perception. This is ultimately what the book is all about. It reads almost like a history of the NBA, in a very easy-to-read style.My personal favorites are his ABA pieces. Not nearly enough has been written about this crazy league, and Simmons did a very good job looking at just how things broke down, at what could have been, and how the ABA led to many fundamental changes in the NBA itself.Finally, this is definitely a book for the NBA junkie. It’s comic style and easy-to-read writing style does make it accessible to those with only mild-to-intermediate interest in the NBA, but at its core, it’s for the junkies who want to fill up with as much NBA knowledge as possible. It’s a great book, and for its price (as of October 27, 2009), a great deal.

Christopher J. Pellerito says:

buy the dead tree edition instead of the Kindle edition (10/28) Still working my way through it, but here are my impressions so far:(1) Buy the dead tree version even if you have a Kindle. Simmons buries an absurd amount of information in the footnotes, a lot more than just citations. They’re set up as endnotes at the end of each chapter, which is awkward for Kindle users. The footnotes are almost like one of those extra audio tracks in a DVD where the director provides running commentary on a film; for better or worse, you’re missing out on a lot if you skip the footnotes. Why he thought this was a good way to write a book is beyond me. But you’re going to want to read the footnotes.(2) if you bet “under 1.5” as the first chapter in which an NBA moment is compared to a scene in Shawshank Redemption, you covered.(3) if this book had an MPAA rating, it would be rated R. He says things that he could never get away with in his ESPN columns. For example, he refers to going off birth control as “pulling the goalie” and calls the Hawks’ selection of Marvin Williams in the 2005 draft (instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams) “an Aretha Franklin sized mistake.”(4) I’ve probably read half a dozen different “Wilt or Russell?” articles over the years, and Simmons’ handling of the debate is probably the best one.Will update in coming days.Update (11/3): Man Reads Entire Book of Basketball — And Lives!If the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is the ’86 Celtics of sports history books — a timeless classic that could succeed in any era — then TBOB is the ’79 Sonics: a championship team but not one that will be remembered forever, and one that could probably only have won a championship in its own time. Why does TBOB fall short of the absolute pinnacle? Is it because of the salty language? (No; recall that James’ entry on Don Mattingly in the Abstract is “100% ballplayer, 0% bulls&%$.”) Is it because Simmons can barely contain his disdain for players like Kareem and Laimbeer? (Again, no; James can barely contain his disdain for Rogers Hornsby, Dick Allen, Maury Wills, etc.) Is it the fact that the book contains some post-consumer content (e.g. the entry on Pete Maravich is basically lifted directly from an […] column he wrote about Pistol a few years back?) Again, James recycled old material for the Abstract, so that’s not it. Ultimately it’s the endless barrage of throwaway pop culture references that is going to make this book feel dated quickly (people might still remember Teen Wolf or Rocky IV in ten years, but is anybody going to care about Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2019?)All told, this book has freakish athleticism, jumpability, length, and tremendous upside.


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