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Hoops Nation : A Guide to America's Best Pick-Up Basketball Paperback – March 15, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here's the drill: hit the road in a van; crisscross the country in search of pick-up basketball, wherever it's played with passion and verve; then write a lively and informative guide to the Hoops Nation that is America. That's what former college player Chris Ballard did. His guide judges the five best pick-up courts in the country, then continues on its full-court press to critique pick-up hoops games in every region. With descriptions of more than 700 gyms, parks, and schoolyards in all 50 states, this is the most comprehensive look at neighborhood basketball ever undertaken. The ratings system, complete with graphic symbols, covers such criteria as type of court (indoor or outdoor), level of competition, court quality, rough play, dangerous areas (only exceptional pick-up games in dangerous areas are included), and the regularity of female players. But this is so much more than a field guide. Ballard relates basketball lore and myth from all over the country, profiles pick-up legends, and, for rookies, covers tips on etiquette and basic play. Whether looking for a good game when out of town or just curious about hoops in other places, this fun and useful guide will put visions of jump shots in your head and get the adrenaline pumping.

From Library Journal

If your neighborhood court isn't one of the nearly 700 visited by Ballard, then it just may remain undiscovered. Ballard, a magazine writer and former college player, toured 48 states sampling pickup games and customs?from Houston's MacGregor Park to the Mitchell, South Dakota, "Corn Palace," where the local Kernels play. On their six-month basketball odyssey, Ballard and his traveling companions learned a lot of regional court lingo and style, much of it contained in their fine glossary. That the guide's favorite court is New York's fabled West Fourth Street comes as little surprise, but it seems the journey was worthwhile anyway. Recommended for high school libraries and anywhere basketball books are popular.?Nathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805048774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805048773
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,499,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he specializes in narrative longform stories. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his work has been anthologized in The Best American Magazine Writing and The Best American Sports Writing series (three times). Ballard is the author of four books: "Hoops Nation", "The Butterfly Hunter", "The Art of a Beautiful Game" and "One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, An Unlikely Coach and a Magical Baseball Season," which won an Alex Award from the American Library Association.

Ballard joined SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in September 2000. He has covered the NBA and MLB, written more than a dozen cover stories, penned the back page "Point After" column and written features on everything from pigeon racing to Jake Plummer's post-football life to the Vancouver riots. He was one of five 2012 finalists for a National Magazine Award in profile writing, is a past recipient of a National Headliner Award and was the 2011 winner of The Joanie Award for a story about Cal Berkeley coxswain Jill Costello, who died of lung cancer after her senior year. His 2010 story titled "The Magical Season of the Macon Ironmen provided the inspiration for his latest book. Four of his stories have been optioned for feature films, including "One Shot," which is currently in development by Legendary Pictures.

Before joining SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Ballard was an intern at the Courier-Post in Camden, NJ and attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Ballard has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, ABC News with Dick Schaap, and Outside the Lines, among others, and speaks regularly to groups of journalism students. A native Californian, Ballard graduated from Pomona College, where he played basketball, was on the track and field team and drank lots of cheap beer. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and two daughters.

To read a collection of Ballard's best feature stories, go to: http://byliner.com/chris-ballard

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Russ Coward (rhc@chcs.org) on March 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
A must-buy for any basketball player. Hoops Nation does a great job of bringing out the local color of each court. Ballard brilliantly moves from stories about the players to comments on playgrounds, all the while expressing a true love for the game. The best part about this book is that the author doesnt romanticize his travels. He's just a guy who is looking for a good game, and his detachment succeeds in bringing out the unique flavor of each court he visits. BUY THIS BOOK!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric W. Kneedler on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Chris Ballard should be lauded for his wonderfully concise and sophisticated written journey through America's hoops heartland. Chris successfully boiled down a subject of extreme complexity into a an easy to use reference guide that has something for everybody. Of special interest is Chris' reasoned analysis of the changing nature of the sport and his expertise on the issue of basketball as a cultural and societal gap bridging mechanism. Hoops Nation is a rare jewel of humor, anecdotal variety, and thorough research. I'm quite pleased to have discovered this literary treasure and can be assured of Jordanesque status on Christmas day when my friends and relatives receive their own paperbacks. Anyway I can get an autograph?
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Here's the drill: hit the road in a van; crisscross the country in search of pick-up basketball,wherever it's played with passion and verve; then write a lively and informative guide to the Hoops Nation that is America. That's what former college player Chris Ballard did. His guide judges the five best pick-up courts in the country, then continues on its full-court press to critique pick-up hoops games in every region. With descriptions of more than 700 gyms, parks, and schoolyards in all 50 states, this is the most comprehensive look at neighborhood basketball ever undertaken. The ratings system, complete with graphic symbols, covers such criteria as type of court (indoor or outdoor), level of competition, court quality, rough play, dangerous areas (only exceptional pick-up games in dangerous areas are included), and the regularity of female players. But this is so much more than a field guide. Ballard relates basketball lore and myth from all over the country, profiles pick-up legends, and, for rookies, covers tips on etiquette and basic play. Whether looking for a good game when out of town or just curious about hoops in other places, this fun and useful guide will put visions of jump shots in your head and get the adrenaline pumping.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having been turned on to Ballard's witty and insightful prose through his frequent contributions to Maxim (check out his article on Russia!), Men's Health, and Point of View, I was ecstatic to finally sit down and read Hoops Nation. While the format does not allow the reader to fully appreciate Ballard's entire literary arsenal, it does nevertheless reveal his unmatched love for the game of round ball. I guarantee you will not be able to put this book down. Whether you find yourself frequently thumbing to the back for one more look at his devilishly handsome photo, or merely get caught up envisioning yourself as one of the road crew, you can be assured of the ride of your life.
Hoops Nation is not just for the basketball fan. As a reader with no previous interest in hoops, I can attest to its universal appeal. My ribs are still aching from laughter and I need to catch up on my sleep. I wait for the sequel with baited breath, now and forever a junkie of pick-up basketball and Chris Ballard!
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