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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing up Kareem
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...
Published on October 27, 2010 by Jack Krause

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's great until they lose their objectivity
I really enjoyed this book on many different levels. The topics were unique and concise. The statistical research was thorough and interesting. The writing styles of the authors was fresh, unique and reflective. The caricatures were GREAT! And then they hit the 1990's. Before then, it was clear that they were objective because the authors had not experienced the...
Published on December 15, 2010 by FreeKobe


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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing up Kareem, October 27, 2010
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art In Its Own Right, October 30, 2010
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
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. Shoals is only one member of the Free Darko High Counsel, and the other members contribute hundreds of asides, detail shots, etc. that act as a harmonic balance to the primary soundtrack.

And then there's the art. Jacob Weinstein brings the exact same qualities to the table as I attributed to Shoals above. In detail they are beautiful, with unexpected elements (I could stare a long time at a piece comprised entirely of the chain link fences in the Connie Hawkins illustration), but their overall structure- how they present their subjects, is just as impressive.

In short, this book is the whole package. It is enjoyable not just as something that pertains to basketball but as a work of art in its own right. Even if you don't know basketball, you can appreciate this work of craft. Though it would probably help to like basketball
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book!, October 26, 2010
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basketball as Imagined by a Room of Trained Monkey Typewriter Philosophers, October 29, 2010
This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most anticipated book in years, October 26, 2010
This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
What's not to love here? The prose is brilliant, if you've read any FreeDarko before, you'll of course know that they could write a book on any topic and it'd be a riveting, interesting and insightful read. By nature, Shoals and co. write in such a way that they make the reader think in new ways and see new angles on seemingly static topics. I never grew up watching Hakeem Olajuwon, yet found their series of essays on him to be the best preseason writing of the summer. Anyone who likes the NBA or reading or art (don't get me going on the spectacular illustrations) should buy this. I personally guarantee a satisfactory experience and a new favorite blog.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macrophenomenal, October 26, 2010
By 
S. Schohn (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
Do you ever feel a little dumb for liking sports? A hint of self-awareness makes you realize how silly and how much time is wasted on them. Somehow, though, the guys at freedarko make you feel smarter for liking sports. The prose is brilliant, the graphics are worth buying on their own, and the insights are a mix of knowingly over-the-top and understated but riveting. These guys make me glad I love the NBA.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, November 4, 2010
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
Not much to say other than kudos. This is a fantastic book filled with graphics, art, and a short yet insightful history of professional basketball. If you like the NBA, buy this book.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Add this to your bucket list!!!!!!!!!!, October 26, 2010
This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
But I'm in the game live by the game and in the game I'mma die
But if I die or should I say if I go
Bury me in Hiram Clarke next to the Come and Go
Cause tomorrow ain't promised to me
The only thing promised to a playa is the penitentiary
So I'm a take care of my business on the smoo(ooo)th tip
Watch my back sellin crack and pack two(ooo) clips

When ya think about that you say
"it'll be on"
Its a trip you're here today
but the next day you're gone
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining book, but there were some errors, June 28, 2011
By 
CT (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
I enjoyed reading this book for the most part. It was entertaining, especially the sidebar tidbits/factoids. However, there were a few errors that I noticed. One, they stated that only the Sixers, Rockets, Lakers, and Celtics played in the NBA Finals between 1980 and 1988. This is wrong- the Pistons played in the NBA Finals in 1988, barely losing to the Lakers in 7.

Second, they stated that Bruce Bowen was the Spurs player who threw Steve Nash into the scorer's table for game 4 of the 07 Spurs-Suns series. This is wrong- Robert Horry was the Spur that did that.

These are fairly minor errors, but this made me downgrade it from 5 stars to 4
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drop everything and buy this book..., December 24, 2010
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This review is from: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (Hardcover)
In writing a review for this book, it is difficult to even know where to begin. A year ago I miraculously made it through all 700+ pages of The Book of Basketball (Simmons) and felt I needed a break from basketball history books. However, while this book is clearly a "basketball history" book, there is absolutely nothing that can compare to it. The format is phenomenal - FreeDarko presents enough of each section of history to leave you completely satisfied without ever wanting to skip ahead. The illustrations are out of this world. Obviously, some of the topics covered will be relatively familiar, but the beautiful prose presented throughout the book makes well-known tales feel new. There is absolutely no bias present throughout the book, just facts along with many interesting pieces of trivia. The Bill Walton quotes brought me to tears and the all-hair team was a brilliant idea. All in all, this piece of art was one of the best purchases I have ever made.
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FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History
FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History by Dr. Lawyer IndianChief (Hardcover - October 26, 2010)
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