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Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association Paperback – November 6, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141654061X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416540618
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pluto, sports journalist for the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal , coauthored such bestsellers as Forty-Eight Minutes , with Bob Ryan, and Tark , with Jerry Tarkanian. This time, however, he will disappoint his readers. The story of the ABA--which lasted from 1967 to 1976, spawned such stars as Julius Erving and Moses Malone, and originated the three-point shot as well as the annual slam-dunk contest--should be an absorbing one, but it falls victim to Pluto's odd approach. Having interviewed many of the owners, managers, players, officials and commentators involved in the league, he cuts up their comments into short snippets (some only two or three sentences long) and arranges them according to a roughly chronological scenario. The resulting discontinuous, herky-jerky text is difficult to follow. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The ABA was born in 1967 and in nine tumultuous seasons introduced such legendary stars as Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins, George Gervin, and Moses Malone. Pluto, a basketball writer for the Akron Beacon Journal , spins an irreverent history in interview format of the league with the three-point shot, the slam dunk contest, the red, white, and blue ball. The ABA saga includes unsettled finances, ever-changing teams, and constant war with the more established National Basketball Association. As well as the stars, we meet the owners (Earl Foreman, John Y. Brown, and Charles O. Finley), the coaches (Hubie Brown, brother Larry Brown, Bob Bass, and Slick Leonard), the bad boys (Warren Jabali and John Brisker), the characters (Wendell Ladner and Marvin Barnes), and dozens of others. Well-told by participants, this is a history laced with humor from a league filled with fun. A must for any basketball fan and highly recommended for all libraries.
- Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

A great book by Terry Pluto about the crazy days of the ABA.
Gregg Hamel
ABA deserves a HELLUVA lot of credit for making NBA product better league when they merged the Spurs, Nets, Pacers and Nuggets into the league in 1977.
E. Alton
This book is a must read for anyone interested in professional basketball.
nick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Gwyn on December 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a sports gem. The wild ride of the American Basketball Association from inception to its eventual collapse and NBA absorption of the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets.
The book is divide into 3 parts.Opening Gambits, Middle Game and Endgame.
The first part deals with the origins of the league from the hiring of its first Commisioner, George Mikan and the idea behind the red, white and blue basketball and the struggles of early ABA teams to stock their rosters to a great section on The Indiana Pacers, one of the leagues best organizations. Everything is told in a series of stories told by the people involved. It is a credit to author Terry Pluto's reporting skills and ability to edit that makes this so enjoyable.
Part 2 deals includes a lengthy section about the greatest player to come out of the ABA, Julius Erving. The Doctor must have been a wonder to behold in his early years as he is spoke of in awe by teammates, opponents, and coaches. Also the many stories of the often bizarre characters that inhabited the ABA are priceless in and of themselves.Of which the reader will often find themself laughing out loud. The section on The San Antonio Spurs is enjoyable in that you learn the humble origins of the current NBA dynasty.
Part 3 covers such franchises as the Kentucky Colonels who were considered underachievers until they finally won an ABA championship in 1975. Probably the most entertaining section of the book chronicles the story of the Spirits Of St. Louis. The tales told of this franchise often boggle the mind if one has any isea how professional athletes are expected to act.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books ever written about sports. An oral history of the American Basketball Association, it is spare in style, which is a good thing because Pluto - a talented writer as he's proven in other sports books - lets his sources tell most of the story. His genius is in the reporting, finding all these people and getting them to tell him (and us) their stories. The ABA was a product of its times and those times will never come again. Even now, that period is becoming just a distant memory. But this is an important part of basketball history and, even better, a great, great group of stories and personalities.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed this book, as it brought back a multitude of memories. I lived in Colorado and during my middle school and high school years, I followed the Denver Rockets/Nuggets. They were my team, and this book caused me to wax nostalgia. The book is filled mostly with quotes from those most closely involved with the ABA. The black-and-white photos were also great reminders. Terry Pluto's writing and summations are a quick read. The book gave me the feeling the ABA is still highly regarded and fondly remembered, red, white and blue ball, etc., etc.,. Fun and nostalgic as far as I was concerned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Carbone on May 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book. While I feel like I have learned a lot about the ABA and even NBA I think the book could have been written much better.

The writing style got boring and jumbled. The book reads more like a transcript at times. Chapters open up with just blocks of text that look like run on sentences with no paragraphs or breaks. Basically when the writer actually had to write about a topic and not just copy what someone else said the writing was poor.

I read the book Rebel League about the World Hockey Association before Loose Balls and the former set the bar high (that book was great). I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn about the ABA. I am glad I read the book but I just couldn't give a higher rating given the writing style, I feel it could have been so much better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig Connell on December 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Not living in an ABA city, I never saw many of that league's games but after reading this book, I sure wish I had! Terry Pluto has put together a fantastic book of comments ("oral history") from various people who were involved with the ABA. Man, this was fun read!

I lost count how many times I just laughed out loud and some of the outraegous people that made up the fledgling pro basketball league. I learned a lot about the various teams, from the Kentucky Colonels, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Nets to - best of all - the St. Louis Spirits. A young "Bobby Costas," who got his pro start in broadcasting with that team, relates some very funny stories in this book.

Some of the players are just plain thugs (see the chapter, "The Meanest Men in the ABA") and some are brutal prima donnas (can you say, "Marvin Barnes?") but the good guys are equally memorable. For instance, I have more respect for Julius Erving than ever after reading this book. There are some wonderful unsung "stars" of this league that few people got to appreciate.

If you like basketball and fascinating people, this book is a real treasure. Check it out!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Howard Wexler on May 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Some books you read once and while they are good, they are good for one reading alone.

Not this book, I refer to it time and time and time again.

Just the stories of the Spirits of St. Louis make this book a must-read. They show that truth is stranger than fiction.

Great oral biography uses a lot of sources, this book has them. And you can just see the smiles on the faces of the people as they told Pluto their stories, grateful that someone wanted to hear them.

Five stars plainly are not enough for this book.
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