Larry Bird was my first superhero. Growing up, I would shoot hoops until all day and into the night in our driveway and on the blacktop court our Dad had built in our backyard in Virginia, and Larry Bird was the player I always pretended to be. Even though he wasn't the best looking or most graceful player on the court, I always appreciated his hustle (and hard-nosed defense), which I suppose is also why his autobiography is aptly titled "Drive." Perhaps I also secretly wanted to be able to grow a blond mustache and curly semi-mullet and wear short shorts and shoot the three-ball or grab an offensive rebound like he did. Anytime I needed to get pumped up before basketball practice freshman year at Bishop Ireton, I would watch old Celtics highlight videos, and that would always do the trick.
I think that this was the first non-Scholastic autobiography I ever did read, and I remember soaking it up. Even though it got a bit serious for a 9 year old at times (rough childhood, failed marriage, college breakup with Bobby Knight) I loved reading about Larry growing up in French Lick, playing for the Indiana State Sycamores, and his personal accounts of his 3 championship, 3 MVP-season days with the Boston Celtics. I have a feeling that revisiting this personal favorite might be a bit of a literary let-down, so I'll just let it sit on the shelf and keep its cozy place in my memory.
Own your own copy of the Hardcover 1st Printing or pass it along as a gift to an aspiring Hoop Dreamer: http://tinyurl.com/cfg7ss
2. "The Last Amateurs" by John Feinstein
Feinstein is the greatest living author of books on sports. Period. Whether writing about qualifying school on the PGA Tour, the Army/Navy football rivalry, the MLB or College Basketball, Feinstein consistently manages to entertain sports freaks of all denominations.
"The Last Amateurs" dissects a season of college basketball in the Patriot League (Bucknell, Lehigh, Army, Lafayette, etc.), where students play for the love of the game and not the prospect of playing in the NBA, and where the shot of making it into the field of 64 is the ultimate dream of every player, coach and team.
For sale here is a copy of one Feinstein's other excellent and highly relevant college basketball season adventures, "The Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four":
3. "Another Shot" by Joe Kita
From Library Journal
"Some of us respond to regrets, both our own and (especially) those of others, with a hearty, "Get over it." Others wistfully say something like, "If I could only go back knowing what I know now...." When journalist Kita turned 40, he took a different route. Rather than shrugging off the past, he made a list of 20 lingering disappointments and sought to set things right. Readers will pull for him as he tries to make the basketball team at the high school that cut him 20 years ago, finally finds the courage to ask out the pretty former coed who told him he looked like James Caan, attempts to connect with his estranged mother, and visits a seer in search of a message from his father, who had died suddenly with no time for good-byes. By turns funny and poignant, Kita's account of tilting at the windmills of regret is a winner."
This one can be had for the price of a shiny penny plus shipping!
4. "A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton" by John McPhee
"First published in 1965, A Sense of Where You Are is the literary equivalent of a harmonic convergence, a remarkable confluence of two talents--John McPhee and Bill Bradley--at the beginning of what would prove to be long and distinguished careers. While McPhee would blossom into one of the best nonfiction writers of the last 35 years, Bradley segued from an all-American basketball player at Princeton, to Rhodes Scholar, to NBA star, to three terms in the U.S. Senate. McPhee noticed greatness in Bradley from the start; the book is an extension of a lengthy magazine profile McPhee wrote early in Bradley's senior year; the title comes from Bradley always knowing his position in relation to the basket."
Available for sale at http://www.lowestcostbooks.com/: http://tinyurl.com/dgzsr4
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