The Schoolyard Game: An Anthology of Basketball Writings

Overview

When Dr. James Naismith first nailed a peach basket to a Springfield, Massachusetts, gymnasium wall over one hundred years ago, even this inventor of basketball couldn't envision how popular it would become. Nor would he realize how firmly entrenched the game of hoops would become in the foundation of American society. From the schoolyards and driveways of the heartland to the playgrounds of New York City and Washington, D.C., to fabled arenas such as Madison Square Garden and the Great Western Forum, basketball ...
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Overview

When Dr. James Naismith first nailed a peach basket to a Springfield, Massachusetts, gymnasium wall over one hundred years ago, even this inventor of basketball couldn't envision how popular it would become. Nor would he realize how firmly entrenched the game of hoops would become in the foundation of American society. From the schoolyards and driveways of the heartland to the playgrounds of New York City and Washington, D.C., to fabled arenas such as Madison Square Garden and the Great Western Forum, basketball has become the grass-roots game of America. The level of competition - from pickup games at the local "Y" to the championship game of "March Madness" and game seven of the NBA finals - may vary, but never the reason for competing. Whether able to sink an arcing three-point shot a la Larry Bird or fly along the baseline like Michael Jordan for a spectacular slam dunk, everyone plays for the love of the game. The Schoolyard Game shares this love for the sport with any gym rat who has ever harbored dreams of playing in the NBA or has simply been content to have been the last player chosen for a pickup game. The Schoolyard Game features such classics as Pat Conroy's father-son confrontation in The Great Santini and John Updike's poignant scene in Rabbit, Run. John Edgar Wideman describes the poetry-in-motion of Michael Jordan; Pete Axthelm laments the tragic life of playground legend Earl Manigault; Dave Anderson recalls the greatness of Jerry West; and Ron Shelton captures the flavor of the playground culture in his screenplay for White Men Can't Jump. The Schoolyard Game will become a treasured anthology for every fan of basketball and literature.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This uneven collection of both fiction and nonfiction tries to touch all aspects; included are articles or book excerpts from nearly everyone noteworthy who has written about basketball since WW II. However, one senses that many of the pieces have been added pro forma, like a four-page reprint from John Updike's Rabbit, Run , an even shorter entry from Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus and inconsequential selections from John Edgar Wideman, Pete Axthelm, John McPhee and Ira Berkow. Even so, some material is excellent--a chapter from Bill Bradley's Life on the Run ; a capsule history of the Boston Celtics by Bob Ryan and Terry Pluto from Forty-Eight Minutes ; a scene from The Great Santini (which is about generational conflict, not basketball); and David O. Weber's novella ``American Pastime'' (about racism, not basketball). Despite these moments, though, the book is less than impressive. Wimmer is the author of Baseball Fathers, Baseball Sons . (May)
Library Journal
What do streetwise youth and a U.S. senator have in common? Basketball! From the screenplay of the popular movie White Men Can't Jump (1992) to Bill Bradley's Life on the Run ( LJ 5/1/76) , this anthology of basketball literature summons forth images of America's game. There are 24 stories in this collection, including both fiction and nonfiction. Representative pieces include a short essay on Michael Jordan's legendary flights to the basket and excerpts from John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink ( LJ 11/1/86), John Updike's Rabbit, Run (1960), and Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus (1979) . Whether realistically portraying graceful jump shots on the parquet floor of Boston Gardens or a one-on-one, in-your-face, pick-up game between trash-talking kids on a hot city playground, The Schoolyard Game is a slam-dunk collection for hoops fans. Recommended for public libraries wanting to fast break through some exciting literature.-- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas
Wes Lukowsky
Among the notable authors contributing work to this outstanding anthology are Senator (and former New York Knick) Bill Bradley, Tom Boswell, John Updike, Philip Roth, and Bob Cousy. Though basketball is the unifying topic, the themes of the individual pieces are diverse. Bradley writes poignantly of the professional athlete's figurative death when time forces him to retire; Pat Conroy examines a painful father-son ritual in a selection from "The Great Santini"; David Weber's pickup game escalates inexorably toward violence; and Terry Pluto and Bob Ryan reflect on a city's identification with a team. New York City playground legend--and tragic figure--Earl Manigault is profiled by fan Ian O'Connor, and Rick Telander provides a first-person account of life on those same playgrounds. Baseball literature may get more attention than its basketball counterpart, but, as every selection in this volume demonstrates, hoops has inspired more than its share of fine prose.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780026301626
  • Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1993
  • Pages: 256

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
From "Michael Jordan Leaps the Great Divide" 1
From Rabbit, Run 3
From The Great Santini 7
From Haymon's Crowd 21
From Heaven Is a Playground 29
From "White Men Can't Jump" 33
"The Fallen Idol: The Harlem Tragedy of Earl Manigault" From The City Game 43
"A King Felled by Drugs Revisits Court He Ruled" 47
American Pastime 55
The Shooter 97
The Ultimatum of Hattie Tatum 105
From Goodbye, Columbus 121
From A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers 125
"Winning and Losing" From The Killer Instinct 129
From The Breaks of the Game 135
"Good-by to Jerry West" 139
Coliseum Hour 143
From Forty-Eight Minutes 145
"Revolution Comes to Madison Square" From Wait Till Next Year (with Mike Lupica) 165
From Life on the Run 171
From Lady Magic 181
"The Pistons" From The Franchise 185
"Unforgettable" 193
"To Hoops On Its 100th" 199
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