Friday, November 14, 2008

Hard Times

Hard Times

Rub the shark's tummy! Strip originally appeared over at Ball Don't Lie!

So, I just got the Free Darko book, and yeah, wow, it's a sight to behold. I haven't absorbed it all yet, but I think you maybe should beat feet to your closest bookstore. And while you're at it I have a couple other hoops book recommendations. These aren't new, but I only read them recently and they relate to last week's strip.

Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin' and Gunnin' Phoenix Suns by Jack McCallum is basically what it sounds like. The writer was granted total access to the '05-'06 Suns and took lots of notes. Some of the best bits were the interactions between D'Antoni and his assistants. The mind-set behind their offense. Cute Barbosa anecdotes. Amare's child-like curiosity. Good stuff.

And even better, The Last Shot by Darcy Frey tells the story of the Lincoln High School basketball team, Coney Island, 1991. This book had a back cover quote from David Halberstam that snagged me, something like "This is a book I wish I'd written." Wow. Frey vividly describes the squalid poverty of Coney Island, and what basketball meant to the players and the neighborhood. The game is really their lifeline. Dreams of NBA riches are for the most part overshadowed by players desperate for college scholarships and chances to leave Coney Island. Of course, the team does feature a flashy 14-year-old Stephon Marbury. We know where he's gone, but it's important to see where he's from. And what happened to his less-gifted teammates? From the housing projects to unscrupulous Division 1 recruiters, this book doesn't flinch.

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