Porter's latest work continues the format and tone of his other volumes in Greenwood's series of biographical dictionaries of sports. As with the others in the series, the entries are arranged alphabetically, contain no illustrations, and include brief bibliographies.
The entries treat 577 individuals, among them almost all of the nearly 300 who are enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Fourteen foreign-born inductees are omitted--this is especially odd, given the current internationalization of basketball. Players, coaches, executives, and journalists are covered. It is good to see many female personalities from the college and professional ranks included. The treatment is factual and does little to bring out the life and personality of basketball. Special attention is appropriately paid to awards, performances in all-star games, play-offs, and championship series at various levels.
The front matter includes a list of alphabetical entries and a list of abbreviations used within the text. The main body of the text is followed by three appendixes. First is a list of entries by place of birth (mostly within the U.S.). The second appendix is a list of women who have entries in the encyclopedia. A list of all those enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame makes up the final appendix. The very comprehensive index is not as helpful as it could be. Some index entries, notably those for the NCAA, NCAA men's All-America Team, and the NBA, are so long as to be useless, since they point to nearly every entry in the text.
Much of the information presented in this book is easily available on the Internet. The Basketball Hall of Fame is a great resource for the inductees [http://www.hoophall.com]. The volume would be of use mainly in libraries with comprehensive basketball collections and those that serve novice basketball readers. If your library needs a book about basketball with a biographical bent, pick up a copy of Peter C. Bjarkman's The Biographical History of Basketball (McGraw-Hill, 1999) instead. Jeff Kosokoff
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"This new guide highlights the contributions of 577 men and women who have influenced the development of the sport in the United States; from Bob Cousy to Michael Jordan, most are the stars of the game….While some readers may miss a favorite player, the selection reflects the outstanding caliber of the sport at all levels. This volume will be a popular choice in high school, public and academic libraries."
Lawrence Looks At Books
"[P]resents 575 biographical entries on the lives and careers of individuals important to the history of basketball, from its origins to the present. In addition to a short biographical essay, each essay also presents a brief bibliography for further reading. Appendixes list entries by place of birth, the women basketball players and coaches among the entries, and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame members."
Reference & Research Book News
"[L]ibraries with comprehensive basketball collections and those that serve novice basketball readers."
Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin
"[A] history of the sport from its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century to its current popularity. Almost six hundred entries in this A-Z dictionary present narratives on the lives and careers of important names in the sport, from coaches and players to others. Students who want a quick reference Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary packed with detail."
MBR Internet Bookwatch
"This reference resource is an A-to-Z listing of players and coaches--male and female, college and professional--who have had a significant impact on the game of basketball. The 577 entries are generally page-long biographical sketches offering the subject's full name, nicknames, date and place of birth and death, family information (parents, children, spouses), and career development. An individual's impact on the game is determined by outstanding statistical records, extraordinary achievement in championships and tournaments, and awards garnered….[t]his is a good source for brief yet detailed biographical information on notable figures in basketball, past and present. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers."
"[A] well-done reference book. The work is a convenient one-stop source for information on individuals who made notable contributions to the game."