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If he had not fouled out, maybe Washington State University’s center, James McKean, might have held Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to only forty points. It was 1967, a transition year for college athletics in a dramatic time for those coming ofage. In this memoir set in the 1950s and 1960s, McKean revisits his years growing up in a family dedicated to sports and the outdoors, his playing basketball at Washington State University (for coaches Marv Harshman and Jud Heathcote), and his fashioning a life during and after basketball.
Driven by the energy and spirit of athletics, the language in Home Stand lights up McKean’s wonderfully eclectic work—the aunt who won a bronze medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, his last run as a misguided drag racer, his playing basketball for a washing machine factory in Bologna, Italy, or against the prisoners in Walla Walla State Penitentiary—all seen in the context of turbulent times. Needless to say, Lew Alcindor scored his points and UCLA won, which they did every game that season. What James McKean took home was five fouls and a good story.
Home Stand delivers a lyrical, thoughtful reflection of what it is to be an athlete—inside as well as outside the game—and how one man’s love of basketball evolved into a love of poetry, "good turns of speech," writing, and teaching.