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The Breaks of the Game Paperback – February 17, 2009
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David Halberstam, best-selling author of THE FIFTIES and THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, turns his keen reporter's eye on the sport of basketball -- the players and the coaches, the long road trips, what happens on court, in front of television cameras, and off-court, where no eyes have followed -- until now. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The difference between good books on sports and great books on sports is that the great books aren't really about sports. Ok, ok, that's not quite fair. The Breaks of the Game expertly chronicles the 79-80 Trailblazers and captures the ebbs and flows of an NBA season: the injuries, the mastery of the coach, the skill of the players, the relief of NBA victory and the very real (for Jack Ramsey, especially) pain of defeat. This is a book very much about sports and its heroes.
But, more than that, The Breaks of the Game is about the growing pains of the NBA as it entered its golden age--the age of Magic and Bird--and the way those pains were felt. What makes this book so incredible is the way that Halberstam blends objective observation with his keen knowledge of the game, its history, and his great capacity to see the humanity in everyone. When all of his considerable skills are dedicated to painting a portrait of Maurice Lucas, for instance, the player becomes the man, vibrantly portrayed and filled with conflicting instincts and emotions. Halberstam deftly works into his analysis of the players, the team, and the league as a whole the seminal aspects of money, respect, and race. The ideas and observations fueling the book are fantastic, and Halberstam's subtle, lyrical prose makes them all the more powerful. Ultimately, this is a book about people: who they are, why they play, what they need, how they interact.
In short, this is the best book on basketball--and one of the best books, period--that I've ever read. It is thorough, fiercely intelligent, and captures a moment in time when the NBA was in flux between the white, poor league it was and the black, rich league it has become.
Halberstam is more than fair in his depiction of all the personalities involved with and on the periphery of the team. His exhaustive research is in evidence. The players are not shown to be charming charismatic larger than life heroes but human beings with stories of their own, interesting ones at that. Mr. Halberstam successfully conveys how the personalities all combined to make up this team.
The thing about this book is that Mr. Halberstam always presents a new take even on well covered topics. He makes you consider what you may not have considered otherwise.
Interestingly this book covers the team in something of a decline not the championship year. That in itself gives a unique view at the end of this book you have an idea of not only why they won but of the difficulty of repeating as champions, of the tenuous relationships formed between players, the slights, the friendships, the business of sports and those behind.
Vivid and rich with color and power. This book doesn't disappoint. Everyone from the rather unique owner to the 12th man. From preseason to playoff. An excellent read.
Breaks of the Game is as well-written and thoroughly researched as any sports book you'll find. Halberstam presents fact after fact on why the NBA game has been shaped by big money and TV moreso than any player, coach, or team. He does a tremendous job exposing the conflict between the league's big money sponsors and its actual product--a game predominantly being played and dominated by black athletes.
Halberstam's excellence isn't limited to the politics and power struggles taking place in NBA front offices. His reporting on the actual game played between the lines is insightful and intriguing. Many of the complaints about today's NBA game--too much one-on-one play, ballyhooed rookies not paying their dues, primadonnas, lack of fundamentals, etc-- are covered in-depth by Mr. Halberstam. Keep in mind, this was written in 1978-79.
It's a great book that can easily be appreciated by anyone--hoops fan or not. And if you consider yourself an NBA fan, then you need to get on this ASAP. Although I wouldn't pay the prices here on Amazon. $59 for a paperback book? Strange. Like another reviewer said: Check your local library. Good luck and enjoy!
If you can't get it used, then look at your local library. And if you are a book publisher, put it back in print, if for no other reason than the astounding quote by OJ that opens the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I believe this is the greatest sports literary accomplishment of all time. Every paragraph is perfectly constructed as the reader is drawn into the locker room with the... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Spencer Darr
My favorite book of all time hands down. So well crated. So well researched. so well told.Published 2 months ago by James Dillard
Well written comments about the NBA and Portland Trail Blazers after they won the championship.Published 3 months ago by Kent Hinckley
Well written and researched, deep and sensitive, full of insights, the book is located in the 79-80 NBA season, but in fact illuminates the dynamics of sports, players, coaches,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by oa
Great basketball read. Covers the game in depth at a very interesting point in its evolution, and still has excellent relevance to today's modern game.Published 5 months ago by Paul
Probably should have read this years ago before the material became outdated but, in my opinion, it was a trite subjectPublished 5 months ago by Charles
I've heard so much about this book that I was afraid it might be overrated. Well, I felt it might be underrated, because of how good it is.Published 8 months ago by Adrián Fallas Cordero
Well written, detailed, inside look at one team's season in the NBA.Published 8 months ago by Michael Iapoce
Great in-depth exploration game from many aspects / individuals. Narrative style is a bit disjointed, which makes it harder to follow the actual progress of the Portland team in... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Hang L.