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JACKIE MACMULLAN and RAFE BARTHOLOMEW discuss their book BASKETBALL: A LOVE STORY, with BILL PLASCHKE

Basketball: A Love Story (Crown Archetype)

In an effort to tell the comprehensive story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, two of the most well-respected basketball journalists working today, Jackie MacMullan and Rafe Bartholomew, collaborated with award-winning director, Dan Klores, to produce a groundbreaking book based on interviews with more than 170 of the sport’s all-time greats. The interviews, conducted by Klores and his team of producers for a multi-part ESPN Films series to be released in fall 2018, include legendary players, such as Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson; renowned coaches like Phil Jackson and Coach K; and numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists.

Combing through nearly a thousand hours of conversations, MacMullan and Bartholomew compiled the candid stories and shaped them into what may become one of the most important basketball books ever written, Basketball: A Love Story. The book, which shares its title with the forthcoming ESPN Films series, surpasses other compilations in sheer volume and depth.

With a narrative that is raw and intimate and digging deep into the vast web of basketball mystique, this engrossing portrait weaves together diverse tales of the sport’s remarkable rise from humble roots and sheds light on its unparalleled growth, transforming our understanding of the game.

Basketball: A Love Story is a vital piece of sports journalism, full of compelling and never-before-heard tales, making it an invaluable narrative of basketball’s history and its transformative influence on the world. MacMullan and Bartholomew allow the voices of the athletes, coaches, executives, and journalists who helped build basketball into a global game to speak for themselves—complete with details that have never been discussed on the record—and only interject prose to provide richer context for these compelling accounts of how basketball came to be, and about what it means to those who have given their lives to the game.

In this sweeping exploration you’ll find unbelievable stories, such as:

  • Shaquille O’Neal’s emotional account of a racist high school indignity—and his rim-bending response
  • Ann Meyers’s recollection of being the first woman to try out for an NBA team in 1979
  • The schism between legendary coaches Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma, and why UConn and Tennessee no longer play each other
  • An insider’s look at the controversial finish to the 1972 Olympic gold medal game between Team USA and the USSR
  • The real story behind Michael Jordan’s 1985 feud with George Gervin
  • How a young Nancy Lieberman muscled her way into pickup games at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park
  • The NBA’s blackballing of Connie Hawkins and the legal fight to reinstate him
  • When Oscar Robertson defied threats from the Ku Klux Klan to play in a college tournament in North Carolina
  • Revealing new insights from Pat Riley and David Stern on the career of LeBron James
  • How a dashing New Yorker named Frank McGuire built a legendary basketball program at the University of North Carolina

Basketball: A Love Story is more than an oral history of the sport at a moment when its popularity is exploding; it is a treasure trove of information and insights, bringing both the novice and the most seasoned fans courtside. This book is a story of the industry and community basketball has fostered, as well as a look at the complicated past of the sport we love.

Praise for Basketball: A Love Story

“Few thing are as effective or as convincing as first-hand testimony. And in Basketball: A Love Story, Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores deliver the history of the game and its impact through the men and women who made it what it is....from the mouths of Cousy and Russell, Magic and Bird, Phil Jackson and Doug Collins to our ears. It's straight gospel.”– Michael Wilbon, Co-Host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption

“The boldface names (Russell, Wilt, West, Jordan, Bird, Magic) and the boldface events (Celtics dynasty, Showtime, Magic's HIV) are all here. But what I appreciate most about A Love Story were the reminiscences about the women's game and especially the accounts of the racial battles fought by the game's pioneers. Jackie, Rafe and Dan have done a masterful job of historical hoops excavation.”--Jack McCallum, New York Times bestselling author of Dream Team and Seven Seconds or Less

“This is a shadow history of how basketball became the game that it is today -- it's all the details you don't know about the all the stuff you always thought you understood. Maybe you think you know everything about Wilt's 100-point game. You don't. Maybe you think you have a grasp on the ABA and the ACC and the complexity of institutional racism and Michael Jordan's secret grudge with George Gervin. You do not. This is not a book for people who just think basketball is OK. This is a book for people who care."-- Chuck Klosterman, New York Times bestselling author of I Wear the Black Hat and But What if We’re Wrong?

“The sweet symphony of the game is audible in every page throughout Basketball: A Love Story. You can hear the sneakers squeaking and basketballs bouncing off floors and kissing nets. Through the voices of the game’s greatest evolvers, participants and influencers, Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores relay the rich tapestry of how basketball has genuinely touched all corners of the globe and all races and creeds.”– Jonathan Abrams, New York Times bestselling author of All the Pieces Matter and Boys Among Men

"The layers and the details and vivid storytelling in Basketball: A Love Story makes this a 'must read.' I couldn't put this book down!"– Doris Burke, winner of the Curt Gowdy Media award and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame

“What MacMullan and Bartholomew have done here is nothing short of crafting the definitive history of the sport -- told through the people who lived it. There has never been a deeper and more star-studded cast of interviewees about basketball, and the authors pull unique insights out of them. A wonderful read.”– Zach Lowe, ESPN senior writer and host of the Lowe Post

Jackie Macmullan is a television analyst for ESPN and a senior writer for ESPN.com. She has been covering basketball for more than three decades, beginning at the Boston Globe, where she was the first female sports columnist in the paper’s history. She covered the National Basketball Association from 1995 to 2000 for Sports Illustrated and has authored four books, including New York Times bestsellers When the Game Was Ours and Shaq Uncut. In 2010, MacMullan became the first-ever female recipient of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award for outstanding contributions to basketball.

Rafe Bartholomew is the author of Pacific Rims and Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me. He was the features editor at Grantland, and his work has also appeared in Slate, the New York Times, Chicago Reader, Deadspin, and other leading online and print publications. His stories have twice been honored in the Best American Sports Writing series.

Dan Klores has been awarded the Independent Spirit Award for best director of the year for his classic documentary Crazy Love, and the Peabody for Black Magic. Four of his films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and he has written for the New York Times, New York magazine, Daily News, Esquire, and other publications. He is the author of Roundball Culture and three Off-Broadway plays.

Bill Plaschke has been an L.A. Times columnist since 1996. He has been named national sports columnist of the year seven times by the Associated Press, and twice by the Society of Professional Journalists and National Headliner Awards. He is the author of five books, including a collection of his columns entitled, Plaschke: Good Sports, Spoil Sports, Foul Ball and Oddballs. Plaschke is also a panelist on the popular ESPN daily talk show, “Around the Horn.’’ For his community service, he has been named Man of the Year by the Los Angeles Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and has received a Pursuit of Justice Award from the California Women’s Law Center. Plaschke has appeared in a movie (“Ali”), a dramatic HBO series (“Luck’’) and, in a crowning cultural moment he still does not quite understand, his name can be found in a rap song “Females Welcome’’ by Asher Roth. In case you were wondering – and he was – “Plaschke” is rhymed with “Great Gatsby.’’

Event date: 
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Basketball: A Love Story Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781524761783
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Crown Archetype - September 18th, 2018

When the Game Was Ours Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780547394589
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Mariner Books - October 1st, 2010

Shaq Uncut: My Story Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781455504404
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 4th, 2012

Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780451233226
Availability: Backordered
Published: Berkley - June 7th, 2011

Two and Two: McSorley's, My Dad, and Me Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316231596
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 9th, 2017

I Live for This: Baseball's Last True Believer Cover Image
By Tommy Lasorda (Contributions by), Bill Plaschke
$16.95
ISBN: 9780547237886
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Mariner Books - April 3rd, 2009

Plaschke: Good Sports, Spoilsports, Foul Balls and Oddballs Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9781883792657
Availability: Special Order
Published: Times (Los Angeles Times) - November 1st, 2002