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The Holy Grail of Hoops: One Fan's Quest to Buy the Original Rules of Basketball

Overview

When Josh Swade found out that the original 13 rules of basketball, penned by Dr. James Naismith—the father of modern basketball—were up for auction, he knew that it was his duty as a lifelong Jayhawks fan to make sure that they ended up where they belonged.

Penned in 1891, Naismith’s original rules were auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York City on December 10, 2010. Upon hearing the news that Naismith’s grandson, Ian Naismith, had offered the rules for auction, Swade could ...

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The Holy Grail of Hoops: One Fan's Quest to Buy the Original Rules of Basketball

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Overview

When Josh Swade found out that the original 13 rules of basketball, penned by Dr. James Naismith—the father of modern basketball—were up for auction, he knew that it was his duty as a lifelong Jayhawks fan to make sure that they ended up where they belonged.

Penned in 1891, Naismith’s original rules were auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York City on December 10, 2010. Upon hearing the news that Naismith’s grandson, Ian Naismith, had offered the rules for auction, Swade could not accept the notion that this sacred document could reside with just some stranger or in a random home or hall. He resolved to ensure that Naismith’s rules be returned to his spiritual home of forty years, The University of Kansas. Swade had his raison d'etre. He had all the determination one could need. There was only one issue.

He did not have 4.3 million dollars.

Spanning the course of thirty-nine frantic days, Josh Swade embarked on a fanatical journey that would take him across the country. His nearly religious obsession brought him face-to-face with NBA players Paul Peirce and Steve Nash, NBA greats Jerry West and Larry Brown, and many others who knew the importance of this relic. With multiple hurdles ahead of him, will Josh be able to find the money and support to purchase the rules before it’s too late?

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“[Swade’s] account is funny, self-deprecating, and imbued with the almost religious fervor one would associate with a spiritual quest. Fun reading and a fine prelude to the movie.”
Dick Vitale
The Holy Grail of Hoops shows the true passion of the sport of college basketball. Kansas has such a rich basketball tradition, and Josh Swade helped bring the coveted Naismith rules of basketball back to Lawrence. That made him a PTPer (Prime Time Performer) in my opinion. He is awesome, baby, with a capital A!”
Alexander Wolff
“Josh Swade has written a heartfelt account of one of the most fanciful quests any fan has ever undertaken. The joy in this book lies as much in the journey as the destination, and the wisdom-spouting Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, would approve of it for that very reason.”
Cal Fussman
“The phrase ‘tour de force’ is often tossed around in book reviews. But this story is a tour de force of American sports fandom. I’ve never read, heard, or seen anything quite like it.”
Wright Thompson
“Josh Swade is completely insane, which is why you should avoid him in public and why you should absolutely read his book.”
Library Journal
Swade (Maggie Vision Prods.), an ardent University of Kansas (Jayhawks) basketball fan, was surfing the web in 2010 when he saw that in a little over a month, Sotheby's would be auctioning off basketball inventor James Naismith's original typed rules of the game, which Naismith had posted on the wall at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, MA, where he was teaching in 1891. To Swade, the rules' logical resting place was at the University of Kansas, where Naismith later founded and ran the basketball program. Swade sprang into action to bring the rules "home," but there was a sticking point: they were projected to sell for $2 million. Swade presents an account of his frenetic, seemingly quixotic, coast-to-coast journey to recruit potential buyers who would purchase and then donate the document to the university. VERDICT While some readers may find the author's quest a bit trivial, and basketball fans will be familiar with much of the interwoven basketball history (though they may not know that Naismith was the only coach in University of Kansas history to have a losing career record!), all will find the auction itself, as the bidding crept past $3 million, as riveting as a double-overtime game. Readers will go away as pleased as the winning bidders. [ESPN carried a documentary on this quest, titled There's No Place Like Home, codirected by Swade.—Ed.]—Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613213834
  • Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
  • Publication date: 8/1/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 958,856
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Josh Swade is a member of Maggie Vision Productions, and has produced the ESPY Awards (ESPN) and NFL Honors (NFL Network). He is also a partner in Young American Recordings and +1 Records, which are two music start-ups. A documentary on Swade’s journey will be released as a part of ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, of which he is the director (titled, There’s No Place Like Home).

Bill Self is the current head coach of the University of Kansas basketball team. In his ten years with the school, he has won a National Championship (2008) nine straight Big 12 Conference Titles, was voted AP Coach of the Year (2009), Naismith College Coach of the Year, and has the highest winning percentage (.836) of any coach in Kansas basketball History.

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