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FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 26, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 26, 2010
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Product Description
The history of basketball has always belonged to champions like the Celtics, the Lakers, and the Bulls. Yet the game's history cuts much deeper than that. The bottom line, the record books and retired jerseys, can never fully do justice to this wild, chaotic, and energetic game. In between the championships, there's the sight of Earl Monroe, spinning and cajoling his way to every corner of the court; or Allen Iverson, driving headlong into players twice his size.

The real history of the game is not its championships, which are indisputable, but the personalities of its heroes, which are, at least, undisputed. It's in the larger-than-life pathos of Wilt, the secret ties that bind Larry Bird to the flashy ABA, and Michael Jordan when he flew a little too high. From the prehistoric teachings of Dr. James Naismith to pioneering superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant, you'll never see roundball the same way again.

A Look Inside FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

"Loud, Fat, and Gifted:
The Irrepressible Charles Barkley"

"The Hair Up There"

"The Nuclear Option:
Wilt Chamberlain, The Man Who Went Too Far"


Praise for The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History

“Baseball has its numbers and football has its hard hits, but basketball, more than those sports, has style. And no one has done more to try to capture that than the collection of bloggers known as Freedarko."—New York Times

“To say that they’ve written one of the most enlightening books on the game’s evolution (which they have) is to miss the point.  The book isn’t intended solely to educate; it’s also meant to entertain, and to that end it succeeds wildly.”—Sports Illustrated

"FreeDarko isn't standing outside the mainstream of basketball discussion: It's driving it ... This is a history of basketball told straight, but smartly, with wit and detail and undeniable affection....Any NBA fan can read this: It's not for grad students and stoners and revisionists; it's for everyone ... We are now living in a FreeDarko world. Hail, hail."—New York Magazine

"This is a history of basketball written with a degree of conceptual complexity that’s just about unique in the canon of the sport. But it’s also an inviting, accessible narrative that doesn’t have to be praised in terms of baroque sociology... It’s also, and by some distance, the prettiest sports book I’ve ever seen... It’s like a McSweeney’s you don’t have to pet."—The Run of Play

"The book is an essential guide to the NBA as seen through the eyes of brilliant outsiders—writers, statisticians, and illustrators—unwilling to describe the contents of the game in the typical language of the sports section. If you are watching basketball without the guidance of FreeDarko, you are simply doing it wrong."—The Portland Mercury
“A highly graphic look at both well-and lesser-known moments in the pro game’s past, written by the sport’s most entertaining bloggers. Get infotained with illustrated awesomeness.”—Maxim




Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190838
  • ASIN: B0071UFBV0
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,148,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My father loves the game of Basketball more than anyone I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I grew up watching my dad come home on crutches, blowing his knees out countless times, feeling the bump on his knee that made almost a right angle. Then sitting on the couch and watching hours of recorded tapes of the Milwaukee Bucks title run and the LA Lakers title runs. He would talk to me about his favorite player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and how he himself had also perfected the "Sky Hook,"(he still kicks my ass with that damn sky hook and with his bad knees the guy can't do anything else).
That being said this is not so much a review of "The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History," as it is a thank you. This book approaches basketball the same way, and I couldn't help but be reminded of my childhood. Each story and illustration is utterly perfect in showing such great enthusiasm for the sport. Reading each story brought the basketball games and players, I didn't live through, to life as much as my dad's energetic stories did. Receiving it today I've read the book from cover to cover with a smile on my face the whole time.
Last year, for Christmas, I got my dad "The Breaks of the Game," and this year I have no doubt that he'll be receiving "The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History," from me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received this book in the mail yesterday, so I've only read the first few chapters, but it's already been exceptional. Anyone who loves the NBA, or just casually watches games, should read this book (or at least check out the incredible artwork). I have loved every word and pciture, and I am fighting the urge to flip ahead to "spoil" the rest of the artwork.

This book does exactly what FreeDarko set out to do: tell the history of the NBA in a riveting, entertaining and bring-the-past-to-life way, rather than simply regurgitating stats and facts as so many other history books have done.

FreeDarko's previous book: "The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac" portrayed current players in a different light, and brought the personalities within game to the forefront. It wasn't just about players and stats, but about how these players fit within the game itself. This book takes the same approach with players and teams of the past. FD's Almanac used to be my favorite basketball book, but I can safely bet that "The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History" will edge it out as my personal favorite.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Bethlehem Shoals's writing for the FD blog (or one of the other 18 sites he writes for) I can always count on at least one display of casual writerly irreverence that will stop me in my tracks and make me wonder what the Hell just happened, exactly as the most amazing basketball athletes do. From his music blog:

"...I prefer to think of it as Sun Ra making peace with an unfamiliar life form, one that tries to strangle him twice, then eats the Saltines he offers, then radiates orange light and [defecates] sundaes."

Its the verbal equivalent of playground ball, where the informal nature of the session leads to greater risk taking and more stunning displays of athletic ability.

To write a full scale book however, requires a whole other set of skills. It takes the fundamental game that too many playground legends unfortunately lack, which spells their doom in the NBA. In short, it requires structure. Form to allow a topic like history to be developed in a meaningful sense.

In this book, I'm happy to state that the writerly flair he applies to his shorter work is reworked directly into the structure of this book. The same creative skills set up frameworks that don't just show off his skill but actually help present the information at hand in a more informative manner. George Mikan isn't just the first superstar of the NBA, he is related to the same questions of "Time and Space" that led to a standardization of basketball rules.

At the end of a 2 or 3 page essay, several issues have been presented clearly, efficiently, coherently and with an enjoyable aesthetic style.

The entire book is similarly structured.
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Format: Hardcover
The FreeDarko collective, a group of ninja-clad government agents tasked with researching wind patterns off the coast of Bora Bora, blog and podcast incessantly at [...] and have at turns been labeled hyperliterate, erudite, off-putting and Ernest Hemingway, but never boring. With "The Undisputed Guide to Basketball History," the colorfully nombred hombres can add another title: romantics. They've managed a great galumphing graphic novel of a slightly biased history of professional basketball, and both readers and FreeDarko fans are the better for it.

The fabulously detailed illustrations (some are for sale as prints and, indeed, rise to the level of great pop art) go toe-to-toe with some of the best writing this side of Papa, which is saying something, because the collective brings a lot of ability to the party. Michael Jordan, while looming large (as he must) over the enterprise doesn't dominate the proceedings, which is to the opus' advantage. This one does the collective's previous effort, "The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac," (a great piece in its own right) several ones better. Readers are in for a treat.
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