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The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball Paperback – February 7, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1594864476 ISBN-10: 1594864470 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; Reprint edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594864470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594864476
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Anyone who pays attention to pro basketball knows that many of the NBA's best players skipped college and entered the professional ranks directly from high school. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, all six feet six inches tall or taller, are the best of the high-school phenoms. As a high-school senior, Sebastian Telfair considered himself that group's equal on the court. At an even six feet, though, he was not their equal in size, and if he were to make the jump directly to the professional ranks, he would become the smallest player to have done so. O'Connor, a columnist for USA Today, meticulously chronicles Telfair's senior year at Brooklyn's Lincoln High. It's not pretty. All variety of people wanted to hitch a ride on Telfair's star, including college coaches, shoe companies, agents, neighbors, and NBA executives. Telfair's Brooklyn neighborhood is riddled with gang shootings and drugs. On one side of his street lurks a life with virtually no hope; on the other, riches and fame beckon. Telfair made the jump. He was picked in the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers, with whom he signed a multimillion-dollar contract. This is a story of a harrowing journey without an ending. Telfair emerges as a likable young man whose millions, at this point, guarantee him only that others will continue to take advantage of him. This will be the most discussed book of the NBA season. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This will be the most discussed book of the NBA season."--from Booklist, starred review

"A must-read for anyone who cares about basketball, about sports, or about young athletes trying to come of age."--John Feinstein, The Washington Post, author of A Season on the Brink

"Anyone looking for evidence of how the culture of sports has changed (for better and for worse) will find it in Ian O'Connor's engrossing account of Sebastian Telfair's young life."--Bob Costas, NBC Sports, HBO

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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If you like basketball, this is a must read.
Amazon Customer
It is a great account of the behind the scenes action, politics, and corruption of the game.
BFreeman
Well, actually written like this one, it works well.
R. Spell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Seigler on August 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In "The Jump", Ian O'Connor takes the case of Sebastian Telfair (a talented if undersized NYC point guard) to document the wholesale marketing of basketball as merely an outlet for businessmen and agents to exploit the very stars they need. Telfair himself is an intense but likable young athelete who comes across as more than just the sum of his shoe company endorsements and shady high school coach's dealings. And O'Connor masterfully describes the various elements that make basketball what it is today, on the high-school level.

Sebastian (or "Bassy") Telfair is the product of an inner-city enviroment that promises little to many of his peers. Nonetheless, he is blessed with an unnatural ability to command the ball and also interact with his teammates in an unselfish style that seperates him from the ball-hogging "gangstas" that dominate the NBA. In Telfair, O'Connor finds a unique case study for his look at the way money can corrupt even the best atheletes. Telfair is smarter than most, able to avoid the pitfalls of financial entanglements while still a "amateur" status. But he has his own problems off the court.

Telfair's father Otis, a Vietnam vet, was a nonentity during his son's formative years due to a prison conviction. His older brother Sylvester, also in and out of trouble with the law, figured prominently in concerns over Sebastian's ability to land with a team in the 2004 draft. And the neighborhood he grew up in on Coney Island is one of the worst in the country.

Through it all, Telfair has his talent and his backers to keep him from becoming another statistic. As documented in "The Jump", Telfair is the local celebrity, and he is able to navigate through the tension of inner-city life because he has the chance to make it out.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A basketball fan on February 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
... it is an amazing portrayal of the life of a young basketball star in America. The Georgia Tech allegation is just one small part of a story that captures the enormous pressures that are heaped on young athletic talent in America today.

While interesting, the buzz centering around Georgia Tech is such a minor part of the book. George Burdell should order his own copy of The Jump on Amazon and read about the sneaker companies' influence on young athletes, overtures by agents that could impact a players amateur standing, and the amazing story of Telfair himself--an exceptionally talented young player with remarkable poise and charisma who, through hard work, perseverance and amazing talent, overcame the hardship and violence of life in the projects to achieve his dream of playing for the NBA. The real story of the book is captured in this quote from Telfair, "I mean, every player is taking something out there. Everybody. . . . Kids out there are starving. We're starving. We'ver got nothing, nad people are making all this money off of us. Maybe I want to buy my mother something for Christmas. She told me, 'They make all this money. They sell all these pictures of you, and nobody gives anything to our family.' When I was younger, I used to have to borrow sneakers to play ball, but nobody cares. Nobody knows what's going on in our household. They just make their money and move on.'"

For the record, O'Connor writes that Telfair never confirmed that he was referring to GA Tech when he told the story about the booster offering money. Telfair's brother and best friend identified the school as Tech. O'Connor writes, "Of course, someone could have made a $250,000 offer--and an empty one at that--without having any connection to Georgia Tech or its basketball program.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The news reports give the brief versions of a promising high school student who skipps college to play with the pros. But here are the day to day details of a young man all of a sudden being put into play almost as a commodity.

When amazing amounts of money are involved, amazing things happen. The colleges that would like to have the player hopefully lead them to championships, the agents, the shoe companies seeking yet another name to hang on their wall all begin to work their own special interests.

To a young man from the projects, this has to be bewildering. Whose advice to follow? What is the best solution? What about college? What about the millions of dollars being offered? At 5' 11", is he too small, or is he good enough to make up for the small size?

This is the day by day, decision by decision, event by event story of one young man as he starts his NBA career. It's a story very few will experience first hand, and it's almost unbelievable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig VINE VOICE on August 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Given the number of pointless, puff-piece biographies about many young athletes, I can understand why some might worry about the substance of this work. However, it takes no more than a few pages to realize that O'Connor is not falling into any such trap. Instead, he has produced one of the best sports to come out in recent years, and one of the best basketball books I've ever read.

I'm sure that even the casual sports fan is aware of Sebastian Telfair, given the magazine covers he graced during his senior year of high school basketball. Knowing a good subject when he sees it, O'Connor decided to follow the Telfair story on a personal level, talking to ST throughout his final year, as well as having discussions with everyone around him - and I mean everyone, including family, friends, teammates, high school and college coaches, ADs, scouts, etc. What we get is an incredibly detailed portrait of what it felt like to be Telfair during an absolutely crazy time in his life.

While athletes are portrayed as vain and greedy, Telfair actually comes off very well in this book. It's not that O'Connor unfairly keeps him above the fray, it's just that Telfair seems like a genuinely good person who happens to be an incredibly gifted and hardworking athlete. The same, however, can't be said of his family. His parents, especially, come across as greedy and self-centered, always looking at how the success of Sebastian (as well as Stephon Marbury and Jamel Thomas before him) might help them out of their tough financial situations. Same goes for plenty of non-family members, who seem in many cases to feel that they're entitled to some kind of kickback for having helped Telfair get to where he is today.
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More About the Author

Ian O'Connor is a nationally acclaimed columnist and author of "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter," which the Library Journal called "excellent" and the "most complete account" of Jeter's iconic career with the New York Yankees.

O'Connor is also the author of The New York Times' bestseller "Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry," a columnist with ESPNNewYork.com, and a radio host on 1050 ESPN in New York.

Three times O'Connor has been named the No. 1 columnist in America in his circulation category by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and seven times he has placed among the top five nationally. O'Connor's work has earned dozens of national and regional awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists' prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

O'Connor has won contests conducted by the Golf Writers Association of America, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Basketball Writers Association of America, and the Football Writers Association of America.

O'Connor has been a columnist for The New York Daily News, USA Today, Foxsports.com, The Journal News and The Record, and has written for The New York Times and Star-Ledger.

A 1986 graduate of Marist College, O'Connor is a frequent guest on national ESPN TV programs. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

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