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Breaking Through: John B. McLendon, Basketball Legend and Civil Rights Pioneer Hardcover – September 1, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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When John McClendon died in 1999, his stature as a basketball genius and ambassador for the game was long established. He was the last living coach who studied under James Naismith, the game's inventor. He won three consecutive NAIA national championships at Tennessee State in the late 1950s, was the first black coach in a major basketball league (the ABL of the early 1960s), and was selected to the Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport in 1979. Author Katz interviewed 60 people who played for, coached with, or were otherwise influenced by the man who has been said to have had more impact on basketball than Jackie Robinson had on baseball. At every level, McClendon promoted the game and espoused that talent evaluation in sports be based on ability, not color. Because much of his pioneering was done in lesser venues, his contributions have been often overlooked or even forgotten. This richly detailed, carefully researched, and affectionate biography is a positive step in reemphasizing McClendon's rightful place in basketball—and sports—history. Lukowsky, Wes

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"A serious, sterling biography." -- Kansas City Star, 11/24/07
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press; First Edition ~1st P edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155728847X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557288479
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,643,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A. Canfield on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is great reading not only for anyone interested in the game of basketball, or in learning how to be a better coach (of any sport), but also for anyone interested in the Civil Rights movement and all those looking for a story that inspires. Coach McLendon has a lot to teach all of us about courage and integrity. Author Milton Katz shares story after story that illustrate these points in his highly readable narrative. This book would make a great holiday gift for just about anybody.
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Format: Hardcover
Breaking Through: John B. McLendon, Basketball Legend and Civil Rights Pioneer-The ESPN presentation, "Black Magic" prompted me to purchase this book to learn more about John B. McLendon. Being an African American college student at an HBCU when TN State won the three NAIA chanpionships, I knew a little about Coach McLendon and TN State. The book made me aware of many of the things that McLendon accomplished during his life, both on and off the court, and how little credit he has been given for doing so. I strongly recommend it to all basketball fans and coaches at all levels.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Milton does an excellent job taking the reader through the life and times of John McLendon and the positive impact he on the lives of many and in civil rights movement.

Coach Mac WAS the Jackie Robinson of basketball by breaking down barriers that innovated the game and positively shaped society.

A must read for the basketball sports fan!
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Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed reading this book, and having the honor to meet Mr. Katz, the author.

I was also honored to know Mr. McClendon as a boy. His house was on my brother's paper route! He was very kind to my brother and I. I knew he was a great basketball coach, but I did not know the depth of his influence until reading this book.

Many thanks to Mr. Katz for his beautiful telling of this great story! [...]

[...]
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Format: Hardcover
Katz does a phenominal job of capturing Coach Mac's wonderful story. This book should be required reading for every high school basketball player in America.
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