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A book by Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell

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AKA - The Secret of Basketball

  • Sep 13, 2010

I was excited to read this book once I heard about it, even though it is nearly 700 pages but I enjoyed every page of it. I found myself being unable to put the book down as I learned about some of the early days of the NBA, and reminisced about the moments I remembered from the 90's and 2000's.I was also amused when I learned about some of the players' personalities. Rick Barry was a great example he used and as much as Simmons praises Barry for his talents, he explains how much of a jerk he was and there's even some proof on youtube:

What it's about -

The book begins with some of his background and then touches on a conversation with Isiah Thomas about basketball and how Thomas describes the secret of basketball having nothing to do with basketball but more with intangibles, teamwork, sacrifice and understanding. That sets up his rubric for the Hall of Fame Pyramid with 96 players falling into 5 different tiers and the highest tier being the pantheon. (The ranking takes up the majority of the book).

I found myself agreeing with most of the book and most of his selections and it was difficult to dispute them because he had his assertions backed with facts from his readings of a countless number of NBA books. He also uses an astounding number of footnotes that explain certain details and even throws in jokes here and there. (Some of which are crude so be forewarned).

He is able to conclude the book by tying in "The Secret" with a meeting that he has with an NBA legend which I thought tied the book together well and was satisfied with the conclusion.

Why NBA fans should read the book -

I definitely believe that every NBA fan should read this book. No one will ever be able to come up with a perfect list of the top 100 NBA players since it's so subjective but no one has gone through this much work just to put one together. People can discuss  the list endlessly and that's what makes this book so great is that every reader will formulate their own list and opinion about who they would put in the 5 tiers of the pyramid.

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About the reviewer
Peter Kim ()
Ranked #90
I love basketball, exercise, reading, business, movies and occasionally some brainless reality TV shows =P I am more than happy to help anyone out with anything here on Lunch and definitely looking forward … more
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About this book


Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009:The Book of Basketballis 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 Basketballis 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 movieTeen Wolf), and it's easy to see why fans of all levels should clear shelf space for this instant classic.  --Dave Callanan
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ISBN-10: 034551176X
ISBN-13: 978-0345511768
Author: Bill Simmons, Malcolm Gladwell
Genre: Sports
Publisher: ESPN
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