Best Seat in the House

Overview

Best Seat in the House, Spike Lee's evocative and compelling basketball memoir, interweaves several journeys over a course of thirty years. The first is professional basketball's metamorphosis from a fringe sport whose championship games would air tape-delayed at 11:30 p.m., after the local news had already given the scores, to become the big-money sports spectacular it is today, filled with outrageously inflated salaries and egos. The other journey is that of Shelton Jackson Lee himself, who has gone from a ...
See more details below
This Hardcover is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

Best Seat in the House, Spike Lee's evocative and compelling basketball memoir, interweaves several journeys over a course of thirty years. The first is professional basketball's metamorphosis from a fringe sport whose championship games would air tape-delayed at 11:30 p.m., after the local news had already given the scores, to become the big-money sports spectacular it is today, filled with outrageously inflated salaries and egos. The other journey is that of Shelton Jackson Lee himself, who has gone from a skinny kid playing ball on the streets of Brooklyn, sneaking into Madison Square Garden to watch his beloved Knicks, to Morehouse College and NYU film school, to being a world-renowned film director and hoops fan. The book charts Spike's artistic journey from his first college film (Super 8), called Last Hustle in Brooklyn, and his gradual move down from the raucous, nosebleed blue seats just below the Garden's rafters, closer and closer to the on-court action until, in the year Malcolm X was released, Spike landed the coveted courtside seats he has today - the best seats in the house. From there, his blue-seat emotions, transplanted to within arm's reach of the action, have led to numerous confrontations with refs and opposing players - some of them public, like the notorious Reggie Miller incident - but most never before discussed. Along the way Spike takes readers on entertaining and provocative detours, including a one-on-one with that other film-directing, Brooklyn-born, Garden-inhabiting hoops fan, Woody Allen; reviews of sports movies (Spike has seen them all, and the results aren't pretty); an unusually candid and revelatory interview with Michael Jordan; and a stark assessment of the role of African-American athletes both in the big business of sports and in the broader culture.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
The New York Knicks haven't won the NBA championship since 1973, when filmmaker Lee was a scrappy teenager in Brooklyn. Today, Lee is part of the basketball industry-not as a player, but as a trenchant critic of the NBA and the racial politics of professional sports, and as a voluble presence at most Knicks games, hectoring opponents and referees from his $1000 courtside seat. In this disjointed but high-spirited memoir, Lee uses the history of pro basketball and the evolution of the Knicks since the 1970s as a prism for his own life story. Once a marginalized sport, according to Lee, stigmatized as "too black," basketball has come into its own as an entertainment business. Anecdotes about memorable players and games are intercut throughout the events of Lee's life, such as his mother's death when he was a college student; the breakthrough of his film She's Gotta Have It; and the tumultuous production of his biopic of Malcolm X. This narrative strategy sometimes misfires, as Lee's personal nuances are lost to long rafts of statistics and game replays. What holds the book together, though, are such fine set pieces as a conversation with Woody Allen (in many ways Lee's alter ego, Allen schedules his shoots around Knicks games); portraits of basketball greats like Walt Frazier and Michael Jordan; and an outspoken candor on the racial politics of this most racially complex of professional sports.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The New York Knicks haven't won the NBA championship since 1973, when filmmaker Lee was a scrappy teenager in Brooklyn. Today, Lee is part of the basketball industrynot as a player, but as a trenchant critic of the NBA and the racial politics of professional sports, and as a voluble presence at most Knicks games, hectoring opponents and referees from his $1000 courtside seat. In this disjointed but high-spirited memoir, Lee uses the history of pro basketball and the evolution of the Knicks since the 1970s as a prism for his own life story. Once a marginalized sport, according to Lee, stigmatized as "too black," basketball has come into its own as an entertainment business. Anecdotes about memorable players and games are intercut throughout the events of Lee's life, such as his mother's death when he was a college student; the breakthrough of his film She's Gotta Have It; and the tumultuous production of his biopic of Malcolm X. This narrative strategy sometimes misfires, as Lee's personal nuances are lost to long rafts of statistics and game replays. What holds the book together, though, are such fine set pieces as a conversation with Woody Allen (in many ways Lee's alter ego, Allen schedules his shoots around Knicks games); portraits of basketball greats like Walt Frazier and Michael Jordan; and an outspoken candor on the racial politics of this most racially complex of professional sports. Author tour. (May)
Library Journal
The filmmaker on his love of basketball.
Kirkus Reviews
At some point in every broadcast of a New York Knicks game in Madison Square Garden, the camera zeroes in on filmmaker Spike Lee in his courtside seat (for which he pays $1,000 a game), dressed in Knicks jersey and cap, often caught in a moment of great emotion. For all the praise and criticism generated by such films as Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing, Lee contends that he has gotten more visibility from his association with basketball: for the style- setting commercials he has shot for Nike, and for "having the best seat in the house." Writing with Wiley (What Black People Should Do Now, 1993; Dark Witness, 1996; etc.), Lee chronicles his long journey with the Knicks from the nosebleed seats to courtside; from the night as a 13-year-old when he chose the Knicks 1969-70 championship game over his father's jazz concert, through ensuing decades of teams bad, mediocre, and near-great. Simultaneously, he tells the story of his life and career, intercut with interviews with many of his favorite players, including Clyde Drexler, Bill Bradley, George Gervin, John Starks, and Michael Jordan. Just as in Lee's films, the style flows from street vernacular to standard English, from irreverent and often hilarious observations to serious and intensely reflective commentary, from information to provocation. More than just a superfan's dream come true, to play sportswriter and be allowed to get inside his heroes' heads, Lee attempts to do with basketball what many writers have done with baseball: use it as a metaphor for life and the social condition.

Just like the athletes Lee admires most, he and Wiley play their hearts out here, making this one of the best sports books of recent years.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517422854
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999

Meet the Author

Spike Lee
While African-American filmmakers have been a staple of the cinematic landscape since the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux during the '20s, none have had the same cultural or artistic impact as Spike Lee. As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for African-American voices to be heard.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)