Spencer Haywood: The Rise, the Fall, the Recovery

Overview

Spencer Haywood was still a teenager when he drew worldwide attention and created controversy by not only joining the U.S. Olympic basketball team, but leading it to win a gold medal, when many of his fellow Black athletes had boycotted the Olympics and staged acts of protest. He earned a reputation for his outstanding talent on the basketball court, and for his willingness to go against the grain, off of it. After one great season with the University of Detroit, he signed with the Denver Rockets, of the American...
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Overview

Spencer Haywood was still a teenager when he drew worldwide attention and created controversy by not only joining the U.S. Olympic basketball team, but leading it to win a gold medal, when many of his fellow Black athletes had boycotted the Olympics and staged acts of protest. He earned a reputation for his outstanding talent on the basketball court, and for his willingness to go against the grain, off of it. After one great season with the University of Detroit, he signed with the Denver Rockets, of the American Basketball Association. In the process, he broke a rule heretofore followed by basketball and football players - that they remain in school and on a college team for four years before signing with a professional-league team. Haywood took his case against the rule to court - the Supreme Court - won, and became professional basketball's first so-called hardship case. His victory in the courts made him a troublemaker in the eyes of team management, but opened the way for players like Isiah Thomas, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Michael Jordan to enter the pro draft when they thought they were ready, rather than after four years of college. Haywood reached for the stars on the court and was the American Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in 1970 with Denver. He led the league in scoring and rebounding and was the All-Star Game's MVP. He jumped from the ABA to the National Basketball Association, playing for the New York Knicks and then the L.A. Lakers. He played hard on the court and off, where he partied with the stars of fashion, society, and entertainment. He married one of the world's most glamorous, and fashion's most photographed, women - Iman. In public and private they shared the idealistic dream of linking Africa to African American through their own romantic union. But the idealism turned into a celebrity fast lane of self-indulgence and drug abuse that caused the dream to explode. He nearly lost it all, but this is
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A member of the gold medal-winning U.S. basketball team at the 1968 Olympics, Haywood later won a landmark Supreme Court case that established the ``hardship'' rule, which allowed college players to turn professional at any time. His skills propelled him to the top of the pro ranks as a star for Denver, Seattle, New York and, after a stint in Europe, Washington. His poignant autobiography, written with freelancer Ostler, chronicles troubles with incompetent and/or dishonest agents, an unsuccessful marriage to a fashion model and an addiction to drugs that nearly destroyed his career. What will stick in readers' minds, however, is Haywood's portrait of life in a family ``a step below poor'' in a Mississippi Delta town during the 1950s and 1960s, when the pangs of hunger were nothing compared to the humiliation of growing up in a society whose white members regarded blacks as subhuman, fun to shoot at or to use as targets on the golf driving range. These passages are chilling. Author tour. ( Nov. )
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567430011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Pages: 272

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