The Breaks of the Game

The Breaks of the Game


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More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.

The New York Times bestseller, now with a new introduction! The Breaks of the Game focuses on one grim season (1979-80) in the life of the Bill Walton-led Portland Trail Blazers, a team that only three years before had been NBA champions.

The tactile authenticity of Halberstam's knowledge of the basketball world is unrivaled. Yet he is writing here about far more than just basketball. This is a story about a place in our society where power, money, and talent collide and sometimes corrupt, a place where both national obsessions and naked greed are exposed. It's about the influence of big media, the fans and the hype they subsist on, the clash of ethics, the terrible physical demands of modern sports (from drugs to body size), the unreal salaries, the conflicts of race and class, and the consequences of sport converted into mass entertainment and athletes transformed into superstars—all presented in a way that puts the reader in the room and on the court, and The Breaks of the Game in a league of its own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401309725
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 02/17/2009
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 212,122
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Halberstam (1934-2007) was the author of twenty-two books, including fifteen bestsellers. Born in New York City, Halberstam spent much of the 1960s as a reporter for The New York Times, covering the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. His Vietnam reporting earned him both a George C. Polk Award and a 1964 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Vanity Fair dubbed Halberstam "the Moses of American journalism," and the subjects of his books reflect his passion and range: war, foreign policy, history, and sports. The Best and the Brightest (1962), his sixth book, a critique of the Kennedy administration's Vietnam policy, became a #1 bestseller. His next book, The Powers that Be, a study of four American media companies, was hailed by The New York Times as a "prodigy of research." Many of Halberstam's books explored themes in professional sports, including bestsellers The Teammates, a portrait of the friendship between baseball players Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr, and The Education of a Coach, a profile of New England Patriots' Coach Bill Belichick.

Date of Birth:

April 10, 1934

Date of Death:

April 23, 2007

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

San Francisco, California


B.A., Harvard, 1955

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The Breaks of the Game 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocks.
kristenhazard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I've read about the NBA. I read it because the Sports Guy, my favorite sports writer often talks about this book being the best sports book ever. I was missing the NBA in the offseason and went ahead and picked it up. The opening quote really struck me..."Fame," O.J. said, walking along, "is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character.""Where'd you get that from?" Cowlings asked."Heard it one night on TV in Buffalo," O.J. said. "I was watching a late hockey game on Canadian TV and all of a sudden a guy just said it. Brought me right up out of my chair. I never forgot it."-From an article by Paul Zimmerman, Sport Illustrated, November 26, 1979, on O.J. SimpsonI wonder if Halberstam had this quote in his first edition which was way before Simpson's wife was murdered?I devoured this book. I have just recently gotten into the NBA, maybe the last 7 years or so, so this book really filled in some holes for me. I think the team building aspect of the NBA is fascinating. Teams are made up of talents and personalities. This book describes the various personalities and talents of the 77-78 Portland Trailblazers.
tzelman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great material about the chemistry that lies behind pro basketball, but too much ponderous sociology
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after reading Halberstam's "Education of a Coach," which I found entertaining and informative, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think I liked this book as much as I did because Halberstam was embedded with the team and was able to give an honest account of what he saw without bias. Essentially, Halberstam tells the Portland Trailblazers story, during the course of a year, from the perspective of the players, coaches, and owners. Though I was not familiar with many of the players as I would be today, Halberstam was able to introduce the reader to the characters well. The book spends substantial portions on Bill Walton's story as well as Jack Ramsay's, both of which were fascinating. In addition, I liked the shorter stories Halberstam writes about some of the other players such as Kermit Washington and Maurice Lucas. Though I have not read an extensive amount of sports books, I would place this book alongside "Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger as my favorites due to the fact both writers were with the teams and told the story as they saw it. Today, with reporters unable to gain the access these two writers had, I find these two books to be refreshing.