To begin with, let it be known that I am not a huge basketball fan, at least not of the NBA (though I really enjoy college hoops). I have long thought that the league has the WORST type of selfish, entitled, immature, and irresponsible athletes of any of the major sporting leagues in America (I have heard that European footballers are even worse).
The Book of Basketball Book Review
With that out of the way, I recently read The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons (a.k.a. The Sports Guy, a writer for ESPN.com) and loved it in many respects. The only thing that drew me to the book is Bill Simmons himself. I have been reading his stuff on ESPN for quite a while now and have really enjoyed his thoughts about all sports, but he seems especially knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to the NBA.So, the thing about this book is that it is kind of like life in the world today. There are a lot of interesting things in the book that were enjoyable to read but ultimately of little value, there were a lot of things that I could have gone without reading and even a few things I skipped, and then there were a few parts that were transcendent and perhaps of a higher natural order. Ultimately the thing I took from it was Bill’s idea (more Isaiah Thomas’ idea, but Bill took it further) of The Secret. The Secret boils down to the fact that the truly great basketball players always made their teammates better. Sometimes that meant doing less of certain things – less scoring, less controlling, less me-ing, if that’s a word – and doing more of other things – more supportive, more friendly, more uplifting, …etc. It’s about trusting, nurturing others talents, and selflessness, mixed with a desire for the best. It’s a very applicable idea in all walks of life, and really life in general. The best people are people who bring out the best in all those that they come in contact with, and in a sense this is a secret of life.
In the end, the book was a really good read and made me appreciate the NBA more. That isn’t to say that I support the egos or me-ing that is prevalent in the game, but I appreciate its subtleties more and those who play the game “right.” I don’t know that I will keep The Book of Basketball though because as good as it was at times, it was just as bad, and to be honest it isn’t a book that I would want my children to come across and read at some point. Bill’s mind lives on the everyday plane, but has a vacation home in the gutter where it lives most of the time. Read it at your own risk, and be prepared to edit and skip portions and then laugh hysterically at other times.
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