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Loose Balls Paperback – December 15, 1991

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (December 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671749218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671749217
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Terry Pluto is a columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal. He's the author of 22 books, has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has been named "Ohio Sportswriter of the Year" eight times. He has been called "perhaps the best American writer of sports books" by the Chicago Tribune. He lives in Akron, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I remember reading this book many years ago.
G. J Wiener
If you are at all a fan of basketball, you have to read this book.
Michael Erisman
Pluto is a master storyteller and the old ABA is a great story.
West Metro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Erisman on April 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you remember the ABA, and loved the red, white and blue ball, the original 3-point line, and what it all brought to the game of basketball, then consider this required reading.
I cannot remember when I have laughed so hard while reading a documentary. The depictions of the players, and the unusual antics the owners tried to get people to come watch is simply too funny to describe here. Whether it was making a big deal out of $100,000 contracts (really just "very" long annuities) or getting the whole crowd to move to one side of the arena (the side shown on TV) the league went to new lengths to promote the product. Cow milking at halftime? Whatever the means, there is no doubt that the ABA changed the game forever. The first slam dunk contest, the 3-point line, and the creativity of the play itself were brand new.
While the league may have been a circus act compared to the classic NBA who had the Laker's, Celtic's, Wilt, Russell, West, Oscar and others, make no mistake that some of the best to ever play came not out of the NBA but the ABA. Connie Hawkins was MJ long before MJ himself followed in the footsteps of another ABA great; Dr. J. The ABA started the early college exodus with the legal decision "hardship" rule applied to the great Spencer Haywood. If you think Rasheed Wallace with his 28 technicals a season is a strange act to follow, he pales in comparison with some of the bruisers in the "other" league. One story about a player/coach, who had benched himself for fighting, ends with the coach putting himself in as a player and decking someone not 30 seconds into the game! Who can forget the famous Marvin Barnes?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Bratz on October 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Terry Pluto's book is a very funny look at the American Basketball Association. He interviewed several people who were involved with the league and told the story of the league through their stories.

The ABA had some great players and introduced the three-point shot and slam dunk contest, which later became popular in the NBA, but the league was not run well and didn't have enough money invested in it to be a real success. They did manage to hold on long enough to force a merger with the NBA.

This was a league where a game was postponed once when two different airlines lost the luggage of the two teams that were supposed to play, leaving neither team with uniforms for the game. One team gave away something like 500 free tickets to a playoff game and had a crowd of about 520.

The league had its share of characters, and this is a great place to read all about them. It's also the place where Dr. J, George Gervin and some other great players got their start, and you can read about that here too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jim G on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hey, if you don't take MY word that this is an excellent read, refer to the 2002 Sportsman of the Year issue of Sports Illustrated. It has this in the top 100 sports books of all time.
As a kid who had one of those ABA basketballs in the 70's this brought back a LOT of memories...
It is the perfect book for someone on the go, or on a plane, or in other situations where a long drawn out read is not possible. It consists of short stories, woven together around various themes (the barnstorming nature of the ABA, tough guys in the league, etc.)
The most AMAZING thing about this book is a picture of Julius Erving, during his rookie year, shooting a free throw for the Virginia Squires. If you look in the background, you can count the number of fans in the stands on ONE HAND. Can you imagine? The chance to see Julius Erving (who gets his own special section of this book) in his ROOKIE YEAR?
Also, I never really knew the Connie Hawkins story until this book. Larry Brown, Dan Issel, Doug Moe, Zelmo Beaty, all your old ABA faves are here.
Plus, for stat geeks, a list of all the seasons, the standings, playoff results, etc are contained.
And pictures of the Miami Floridian 'ball girls' in tight-tights! :)
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hawley on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like many others who grew up in the late 60s/early 70s, I wondered about what was really going on behind the scenes of this "upstart league" that wound up ultimately changing the way pro basketball is played (and not just the 3 pointer either!). Pluto took a great approach with this book, letting the former players, coaches and execs tell their own stories of what really happened.
From the league's start to its ultimate merger with the "enemy," (ie the NBA) it also showcases the successful (Indiana, Denver, Kentucky, San Antonio, NY Nets) and the "flameouts" (Spirits of St Louis, LA/Utah Stars and esp the ill-fated Baltimore Claws and San Diego Sails). It talks about the bidding wars for players, the personalities from each team, and what ultimately led to the merger with the NBA.
This book contains a wealth of humorous and virtually unbeleivable stories about the ABA. What little I did see on TV of the ABA I always enjoyed and finally sitting down to read this book brought back some memories.
There is a "new ABA" now called "ABA 2000," but it's strictly a developmental league. While at times the ABA could be "rinky dink," it was never a "minor league" for the NBA.
If you want to know what the ABA was really like in its heyday, get this book. It's a keeper!
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