The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever

The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever

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Overview

The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever by John Feinstein, Richard M. Davidson

With unerring insight into the deeper truths of professional sports, John Feinstein explores in riveting detail what happened one night in December 1977 when, as a fistfight broke out on the court between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, Kermit Washington delivered a punch that nearly killed All-Star Rudy Tomjanovich. The punch -- now legendary in the annals of American sports -- radically changed the trajectory of both men's lives and reverberates throughout the National Basketball Association to this day. Feinstein's compelling investigation of this single cataclysmic incident and its after-math casts a light on the NBA's darkest secrets, revealing the true price men pay when they choose a career in sports.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402531972
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 11/08/2002
Edition description: Unabridged

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Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing was somewhat simplistic and repetitive, but, overall, Feinstein told a good story. He certainly tried to humanize Kermit Washington anf afford people the opportunity to learn about a man they probably knew little about, except that he threw "The Punch." However, he did not try to downplay Washington's continuing refusal to accept full responsibility for his actions. It came across clearly that Washington has developed the belief that he was somehow treated unfairly by the NBA and that the punch was largely the fault of other people (Kunnert in particular). I also thought Feinstein did a good job of research as it appears he interviewed just about everyone who was connected to the game in which the punch occurred. He also put the punch into the context of the NBA's efforts to increase its popularity and shed it's thug image.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And eat piiiiiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaa
blg77 More than 1 year ago
The Punch is focused on an event that changed the basketball world forever. The NBA was much different in 1977 (when the punch happened) then it is today. It was much dirtier and more aggressive. The rules were less focused on the players and just on the basketball. Scuffles happened regularly and they kept fans interested. This scuffle on December 9, 1997 was different then any other. Kermit Washington was called an enforcer, he was on the Los Angeles Lakers to protect their star center Kareem Abdul-Jabar. On this night Kareem got fouled hard and the benches cleared. Kermit Washington and Calvin Murphy were getting into a heated argument so as the guy he was Rudy Tomjanovich went to break it up. As he approached Washington struck him with a punch square in the face out of fear. Tomjanovich lay on the floor instantly drenched in blood. That was the least of his fear; Tomjanovich was then scene by a doctor who told him he was leaking fluid from his brain cavity, broke his jaw and his nose. With his face mangled and his brain in shock the NBA had to do something. Kermit Washington, Rudy Tomjanoivch and the entire NBA would never be the same again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge sports fan and have read many sports books. I received this book as a birthday gift. I was only 4 when 'The Punch' took place so, though I'd heard of it, was not very familiar with the story surrounding it. So, I was pleased with this gift and excited to read it. Though it was an interesting read, in the end I felt disappointed for several reasons. First, this book was far too sympathetic to Kermit Washington. Regardless of anything else regarding the fight, he nearly killed Rudy T. Even if you accept his version of the events (which I don't) he still refuses to fully apologize for the incident and accept responsibility. It's Kevin Kunnert's fault, it's the NBA's fault, it's racism, etc. He's never a man about it and just says 'I did this, I am sorry'. In fact, all his life's failures seem to be someone else's fault. This is disturbing to me and makes it puzzling that the author would feel such obvious sympathy toward the man. Second, the book is very repetative. It easily could have been 50-75 pages shorter and still told the same story. Third, something that disappointed me on a personal level...I was born and raised in Boston and have been a long-time Celtics fan. I had no idea that the Celtics had traded for Washington after his brief suspension by the NBA (2 months, which is a joke). I know that was 30 years ago but it definitely bothers me as a C's fan. I hope my review was helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ab926 More than 1 year ago
Engaging, fascinating look at one of basketball's most infamous moments, and the people whose lives it changed.
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OMgItZDeaN More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book to all sports fans. This is a true story about a fight that changed not only basketball, but sports in general. This is all about adversity and overcoming it. Rudy T. overcame numerous surgeries and came back to play and coach in the NBA. The only thing I didn't like in the novel was the amount of times the author told the events of the fight. Overall it was a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Punch' was an important event in the history of basketball. The author, John Feinstein did an okay job writing this book, but he kind of lost my interest after he started to repeat statements. 'The Punch' is worth reading, because it told the event that changed the sport forever. If you are interested in basketball I recommend reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Was certainly not overwhelmed by this book. This should have been a 2 part series in Sports Illustrated, certainly not a hard bound book. I'm glad a friend lent it to me and and I didn't waste money purchasing it. No more sports books for me!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again, John Feinstein proves that hard work, sincerity and attention to detail can make reading a book like 'The Punch,' eye opening and enjoyable. Fighting, which has become commonplace in all sports, betrays the players and it's fans. Although exciting to some, the scars left stay ugly for life. Certainly after such a long period, it is high time for the media & we fans to forgive Kermit and move on. He has paid dearly for his mistakes. Haven't we all. Kudos to John Feinstein and his fortitude.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author neglected to discuss a stupendous fight that occurred around 1967-68 when Willis Reed of the Knicks single-handedly knocked out Rudy Larusso, Darrell Imhoff and a third member of the LA Lakers during a game.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book it brought back memories when the game was played for the love of playing and want happens when you have to leave the game
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down. It is amazing what a fluke that one second was - and how someone was almost killed from one punch. The author was thorough in covering the long term effects of both players, from alocoholism (Rudy)to divorce and unemployment (Kermit). The first rematch was barely covered however, and only covered from Kermits view, not all the Rocket players on the court, and any susequent rematches got no coverage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the surface this may seem a love-fest. But the endingof this book is not resached without an awful lot of soul searching, ands painfully honest appraisal both on the part of the combatants in this real life drama-tragedy, and also the witnesses, and friends who saw the brutal act and helped Kermit adn Rudy deall with all the negative rhetoric they've both had to endure because of it. In an almost Ralph Brancaesque manner, Kermit washington seems to at times admit fault for his mistake, yet in the next instant wishes to lay some blame on others who provoked him that nite. On the other hand, Rudy-t's ability tto forgive and get to a point where he wishes Washington all the best is forged in his honest appraisal of his beer problem and subsequent recovery from alcolholism. The final passage of the book is not in any way corny if you were and still are a fan of the NBA ibn the 70's, for the moment they shared in Dec 1977 at the Forum changed forev er how we all look at our opponents and our selves. The NFL shoul use this story as it tries to keep spearing form getting out of control. The big mistake made by the NBA in the early 70's was not being able to imagine such an occurrance as the 'punch' and The NFL better act quickly before one of their own is permanently parlyzed or dies while spearing someone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I'm not a basketball fan, but John Feinstein's books on basketball are among my favorites. This one is no exception. I remember "The Punch" vividly, even though I was a teenager at the time. I, like most people, demonized Kermit Washington for the violent and bloody punch he threw. This book humanizes Washington and shows him for what he was---a good man who made a horrible mistake, a mistake he has had to live with for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Feinstein also shows us the life of Rudy Tomjanovich, who has gone on to enjoy a successful career as an NBA coach but whose life remains marked by the incident. Feinstein weaves a remarkable story, having thoroughly researched his subject by talking with the players themselves, their coaches, their teammates, referees and league officials. He gives us the history of the players and shows us how much the league and the way it is covered by the media have changed. The most remarkable thing Feinstein shows us, however, is how a tragic mistake, taking only seconds, can change our lives forever. An excellent read.