Created in December of 1891 by James Naismith at a YMCA, the sport of basketball has been the setting for all sorts of stories, about underdogs, rivals, and teamwork, often against the backdrop of all sorts of changes, to rules or the cultural landscapes. Here’s a series of hoop tales for the basketball obsessed fan or the simply curious!
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
The award winning writer and artist of graphic novels like American Born Chinese never cared much for sports, but when the high school he teaches at is on the road to the state championship, he meets their coach and players and decides to tell their story. Through it, Yang weaves a story not just of a team vying for a championship, but of personal accomplishment and learning the history of a game. A great read for both the fan and non-fan, of comics or hoops.
The Dream Team by Jack McCallum
The gold medal winning 1992 USA basketball team, the first team to include NBA stars in the Olympics, might have been the best ever, not just in basketball, but in sports. Jack McCallum gives his firsthand account of the creation, experience, and legacy of the Dream Team. This book is a behind the scenes look, including why some players weren’t selected, and what it was like to be in Spain as the phenomenon many believed couldn’t happen, unfolded.
When the Game was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson with Jackie MacMullan
Rivalries are part of what makes sports compelling, and Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson, and Wilt Chamberlain vs Bill Russell are two of basketball’s greatest. They did more than have great games, they defined their eras, and these two books help show how these competitors shaped basketball and the NBA.
Led by hall of famer Oscar Robertson, the Crispus Attucks Tigers were the first team from Indianapolis to win the state championship in the basketball obsessed state of Indiana, and the first all-black team to win a racially open state tournament.
Becoming Kareem by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obsfeld
The leading scorer in NBA history, Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabber tells his story, growing up in New York city, the challenges he faced, and the people, from John Wooden, to Muhammed Ali to Bruce Lee, who helped make him both one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and an activist for change.
Basketball first became an Olympic sport in the 1936 Berlin games. This story covers the beginnings of basketball as an Olympic sport, the story of the first team USA, and the propaganda that surrounded the controversial 1936 games in Hitler’s Germany.