Forget for a moment the hype, the overmarketing, the exorbitant ticket prices and salaries, the bad behavior, and the greed. Instead, return to the simple basics of basketball: a court, a hoop, a ball, and a young shooter, sweating to make certain that no one is ever more prepared or confident when the game is on the line. Strip all else away, and you come to the core of the game. It's something of a sacred place for Bill Bradley, and after a decade in the NBA and three terms in the United States Senate, it's a place he revisits with real ardor and reverence in 10 gracefully illustrated essays that cohere into a marvelous reflection on essentials and values.
"The game is still full of joy and the lessons learned from it stay with you," he insists, "even though the game has changed, the old values still flow through it." The values he writes about may indeed seem antique beside the frenzied glitz of the NBA, but antiques like passion, discipline, selflessness, and responsibility continue to form the basis of character on and off the court. Of course, Bradley, with possible eyes on the White House, is writing about much more than basketball here. In some ways, this is a clear statement of his political philosophy: a country that can understand, instill, and pursue the values he's praising is a country that can work together. It's in these values that he finds the antidote to the tawdriness and partisanship that's managed to sully the level of the national debate. --Jeff Silverman
From Library Journal
Former U.S. senator and New York Knick Bradley has written often and quite eruditely about the two things he knows best: basketball and politics (e.g., Time Present, Time Past, LJ 1/96). This latest (and handsomely illustrated) book addresses both areas. On the first level, it views basketball from a nearly metaphysical height, as he describes what he sees as the basic values of the game: passion, discipline, selflessness, respect, perspective, courage, leadership, responsibility, resilience, and imagination. For each of these values, he describes illustrative incidents from his career and the game's history, and through each there is also a veiled criticism of pro basketball as it exists today. On the second level, the reader can project these virtues onto life itself, and this is perhaps the book's greatest value: as a map of conduct. In his introduction, Bradley rightly recommends that this fine book be shared by parents and children. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.?William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.