These five books cover a wide array of styles and each significantly contributes in a big way to the lore of this great game that we love. From the technical side of the game in “Five Star Basketball Drills” to the hilarious and insightful “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons, these are all important basketball chronicles.
“Five Star Basketball Drills”, Edited by Howard Garfinkel.
For those not familiar with the Five Star Camp in its heyday in the 70’s and 80’s, you regretfully missed the best basketball camp ever. Co-directed by Howard Garfinkel, the basketball guy and Will Klein, the business guy, the Five Star Camps were the perfect blend of great basketball instruction, the very best guest lecturers, great high school prospects (mixed in with mostly average junior and senior high players)-all in a backdrop of impeccable adherence to all the intangibles we try to impart to our players. In short, no camper ever got cheated at Five-Star. You’ll find drills among this book’s 134 that you’ll want to borrow.
“Take It to the Hoop: A Basketball Anthology”, Edited by Daniel Rudman
This collection of 75 basketball related pieces or excerpts is important for no other reason than it provides an older bibliography for the coach looking for the best and brightest of some by-gone days. “Literary” in nature, it’s not for everyone.
“Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association”, by Terry Pluto. In his acknowledgements, author Pluto wrote, “The reason for this book is that so many people felt it had to be written. There were those who wanted to write the book themselves but never got around to it, yet the stories of the ABA lived on inside them, waiting-maybe even demanding –to be told.” Pluto transcribes memories of 70 or more players, coaches, media and others in weaving the ABA’s history.
“When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball”, by Seth Davis.
This 2009 look back at the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan St. and Magic Johnson and Indiana St. and Larry Bird is important because as the sub-title suggests, it marked the beginning of what we annually celebrate as March Madness. Seth Davis adds an authoritative stamp to the account.
“The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy”, by Bill Simmons
If you only know of Bill Simmons in his TV role as an NBA show analyst, sharing a desk with former NBA players and coaches, you’ve missed his real talent-the printed word. The guy can write circles around NBA analysis but in a conversational, funny and sometimes irreverent way. He has strong opinions about players, franchises, coaches, G.M’s and no doubt, has acquired enemies along the way. In the end, he’s passionate about the game and wants it played the “right way”, just like the rest of us. The difference is he’s demanding it at the NBA level.