Monday, January 14, 2008

NBA Books Review

To start this post off I must admit I'm a avid Sports Book collector and have read most of the good time NBA and NFL books out there so it makes sense to do a post out featuring reviews of the better Basketball books out there and a rating out of 10. So here we go

Last Season- A team in search of it's soul by Phil Jackson

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From the very beginning of the book to the end where a season ends in heartbreak Jackson describes a season through his very own coaching eyes. What sets it apart is the dramatic tales from inside the Lockeroom and shows the egos four future Hall Of Famers poccess. From the buzzer beater in Portland to win the Pacific Division to .4 in San Antonio to a near sweep by the Pistons in the 04 Finals Phil Jackson expertly shows the reader what its like to coach in a tough environment and deal with the Kobe-Shaq feud and the rape scandal by Kobe.

What really sets this book apart is the inside info Jackson manges to potray about the Lakers and how the relationships with all the Hall of Famers ticker. He shows that even with Payton's success he never managed to fit into the Triangle Offense. Then Karl Malone goes down with a Knee injury meaning his productivity is limited.He also describes how Shaq despite being thin skinned and extremely ill prepared for late afternoon games has the closest affinity. Needless to say the last future Hall Of Famer Kobe's relationship gre so bad with Phil Jackson that Jackson describes his attempts to speak to a Physciatrist such was the difference. Much of the book is spent describing his relationship with the players much the basis for creating a winning team

For anybody interested in how a Coach manages to keep a disfunctional team together this is the perfect book. To illustrate just how different Jackson finds it from the Bulls setup in one scene when Dr. Buss (talking about Kobe's character) asks Phil "Aren't all superstars like that?" and Phil says "No, not all of them.

Irish Warriors rating 8/10

Miracle Of St Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski

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Most High School teams fly under the radar here and in the US simply because it doesn't yet have the coverage that College Hoops gets. Yet in this book Wojnarowski tells the story of an amazing high school insitution one that struggles facility wise and yet delivers in the high school polls every year. The 2003-2004 season in which Adrian chronicles however is considered the most socially underachieving economically deprived bunch of kids St Anthony's has ever had. Yet Coach Bob Hurley's disciplinarian attitude rubs off in a tough area of New Jersey as his team went undefeated, winning the NJ State Championship and was named by USA Today as the top high school team of the year

Adrian does a good job of chroniciling such a tough situation in an inner city fuelled with Drugs and poverty in most parts. Hurley's Woodenesque approach fundamentals, well-conditioned, team play, and defense makes the team unstoppable at times and the author even makes an arguement Hurley is getting snubbed from the Basketball Hall Of Fame. Wojnarowski does such a good job providing the injuries, players leaving the team, tough wins, and all the key relationships that makes St. Anthony's the special place it is that it leaves the reader wanting more

Irish Warriors Rating 9/10

When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan's Last Comeback by Michael Leahy

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Essentially Michael Leahy's aim is to take account of Michael Jordans infamous return to the Washington Wizards both as an executive and player. I does manage to contain decent info particulary during the NBA Draft of 2001 when Jordan refused to listen to the scouts about Gasol's worth and drafted Kwame Brown instead who is known to this day of being a bust. Leahy captures Jordans first season as a Wizard and his attempts to steer the then mediocre Washington Wizards team in a playoff direction. Unfortunately for any 39 year old athlete they don't have the legs at 25. Unfortunetly one of the major flaws of the book is the bias Leahy shows in potraying Jordan in a negative light. It shows Jordans big inability to translate the extreme competivness he displayed as a player to the Front Office because of a bullying attitude and a lack of caring towards the background staff. This is the major letdown in the book.

All Athletes have flawas but Leahy's spin into making a athlete's reality to fit their own preconcieved notions of what the outcome of their story will be is no surprise. The book is also too long and cluttered to properly enjoy.

Irish Warriors Rating: 6/10

Who's better who's best at Basketball by Eliott Kalb

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Eliott sets out to find the 100 greatest NBA players in this day and age using his unique blend of stats to sort out his goal. He uses MVPs, Championships, All-Star appearances, first and second-team All-NBA honors, outside opinions, and to break ties, he takes big over small, new over old, and winners over losers. Unfortunately it's marred by an awful choice of no 1. Impressively however despite the poor choice and arguements Klab successfully gives older players their due such as Dolph Schayes,Bob Pettit, and Bob Cousy. He evne manages to rate Bob Pettit pretty high on the list impressive when you consider many of todays younger generation wouldn't even know who he is. When ranking players such as Karl Malone he lists his big game chokes one by one, for other like Dennis Rodman's contribution to the 1996-98 Chicago Bulls; Michael Jordan's 3 consecutive losing seasons and his 1-9 playoff record before Scottie Pippen, and how Scottie Pippen put up his finest seasons in Jordan's absence.

While his research is extensive stats don't tell the whole story and without trying to sund like a homer seeing people like Reggie Miller on the list but no Nate Thurmond was hard to see. Kalbs reasoning of Thurmond never being 1st or 2nd All NBA team is correct Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem both have said Thurmond was the toughest Center they have ever played against enough reasoning for him to be included. Seeing Wes Unsweld off the list was hard to understand as well.

Overall Who's better who's best is a decent book that generates debate and gives the reader enough interest to come up with his/her rankings.

Irish Warriors Rating: 7/10

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