King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution / Edition 1

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Overview


Bill Russell was not the first African American to play professional basketball, but he was its first black superstar. From the moment he stepped onto the court of the Boston Garden in 1956, Russell began to transform the sport in a fundamental way, making him, more than any of his contemporaries, the Jackie Robinson of basketball. In King of the Court, Aram Goudsouzian provides a vivid and engrossing chronicle of the life and career of this brilliant champion and courageous racial pioneer. Russell’s leaping, wide-ranging defense altered the game’s texture. His teams provided models of racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s, and, in 1966, he became the first black coach of any major professional team sport. Yet, like no athlete before him, Russell challenged the politics of sport. Instead of displaying appreciative deference, he decried racist institutions, embraced his African roots, and challenged the nonviolent tenets of the civil rights movement. This beautifully written book—sophisticated, nuanced, and insightful—reveals a singular individual who expressed the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. while echoing the warnings of Malcolm X.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All students of the game will feast on King of the Court. "--Library Journal

"If you don't know much about Russell, this is a good place to start. If you do, it will help place him in context."--Providence Journal

"Goudsouzian captures the complexities of the man behind the fame, both his strengths and his foibles."--Choice

"A full, authoritative, incredibly well-researched biography of Russell's life and career, just dense with information on every page."--Espn

Providence Journal

“If you don’t know much about Russell, this is a good place to start. If you do, it will help place him in context.”
The Sixties - Harry Reed

“A provocative, informative, detailed, critical, and balanced work.”
Sports Book Review Center

“"King of the Court" [is] probably the best one-stop of account of the life of one of sport's true individuals.”
Journal Of American History

“It is all here for the reader to savor in this fine new addition to the history of sport.”
ESPN

“A full, authoritative, incredibly well-researched biography of Russell's life and career, just dense with information on every page.”
Choice

“Goudsouzian captures the complexities of the man behind the fame, both his strengths and his foibles.”
Library Journal
It is fitting that this biography of Bill Russell, the complex, cerebral basketball Hall of Famer, should be written by a history professor and conclude with almost 130 pages of notes and bibliography. Clearly this is not a stereotypically hagiographic or tell-all sports biography, yet it is eminently readable. Goudsouzian paints a clear portrait of Russell the athlete, the civil rights advocate, and the man. Russell was outrebounded and outscored by some of his peers, notably the gargantuan Wilt Chamberlain, but he was the ultimate winner: in college, the Olympics, and the NBA, his teams played in 14 winner-take-all championship games, and 14 times they walked away victorious. VERDICT While the copious notes may frighten off some casual readers, all students of the game and those old enough to recall television scenes of Boston Garden going mad during a Celtics rally, Russell swatting away shots like flies or Bob Cousy firing no-look passes, and coach Red Auerbach lighting his traditional victory cigar will feast on King of the Court. Highly recommended.—Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL
Choice

“Goudsouzian captures the complexities of the man behind the fame, both his strengths and his foibles.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520258877
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,026,711
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author


Aram Goudsouzian is Associate Professor of History at the University of Memphis and the author of Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon.
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