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FreeDarko Presents: The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today's Game Hardcover – November 11, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
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Amazon Best of the Month, December 2008: From its mouthful of a name, you might expect The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac to be one of the new breed of fantasy-friendly stathead sports guides in the vein of the Baseball Prospectus. Or, from its blogger pedigree (via the popular FreeDarko.com), you might assume it's one of those quickie blog-into-book projects that repurposes new-media content into an old-media package. But it's neither--not even close. Bucking the data-crunching trend, the Almanac's pseudonymous authors instead embrace the mythical side of pro sports, reminding us that the difference between, say, LeBron and AI lies not just in 0.2 ppg but in the rich drama of potential, style, and lore that each star represents. And the Almanac is no blog: it's every inch a book, freshly imagined and gorgeously designed, with colorful, smart graphics that give dimension to figures from Tim "Mechanical Gothic" Duncan to Stephon "Hategoat" Marbury. With a foreword, fittingly, by Gilbert Arenas, the NBA star whose kooky, self-concocted "Agent Zero" persona often overshadows his knee-hobbled game, the Almanac is the ideal midseason treat for the casual fan and the deep obsessive alike. --Tom Nissley
In the illustrations below, artists from the Free Darko collective give their unique take on two of basketball's "Master Builders"--Kobe Bryant, the perfectionist, and Tim Duncan, a methodical player of gothic proportions. (Click the images to enlarge)
Top Customer Reviews
The Macrophenomenal Almanac analyzes the league as it was meant to be seen -- in terms of the players, and is complemented perfectly by beautiful illustrations and graphs, and the purely genius "style guide". Thus, the authors spend a full chapter each on several of the most interesting, meaningful players in the game. And meaningful is of their own definition -- meaning in terms of symbolism, not wins and losses, which is why there is a chapter on Stephon Marbury, who for all his talent and ability may never play another game in his career, simply because he's such a nutjob, and not on more "deserving" players like former MVP's Dirk Nowitski or Shaquille O'Neal.Read more ›
There are some really impressive charts that prove the authors must have watched every second of every NBA game over the past several years. But even though the Almanac made me laugh out loud, and got me in the mood for this year's season, its look is what stands out most -- the art throughout is stunning. It's weird that the most beautifully designed book I now own is about pro basketball, but there it is....
It's tough to know where to begin when describing "The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac," which isn't really an almanac. But for starters, take a look at the cover if you can. It's an example of the illustrations that grace the pages; they make sense once you read the text.
From there, you should know that this is written by the team that brings you the Free Darko blog, a smart look at the NBA written with plenty of wit and attitude. The premise here is that the NBA should be celebrating individuals and their styles, that teams have become a lot less relevant (to some, maybe irrelevant).
The authors take a look at 18 players and group them into six categories. For example, "Destiny's Kids" are LeBron James, Chris Paul and Amare Stoudemire, which sounded about right at the time of publication. The "Phenomenal Tumors" refer to the biggest cancers in the league: Ron Artest, Vince Carter, and Stephon Marbury.
Each player gets about 8 to 10 pages, complete with a description of "spirit animal" (Tim Duncan gets the Nurse shark, for example). Some players receive unique statistical breakdowns, such as proof of Lamar Odom's diversified talents or of Marbury's effect on his old teams and his new teams over the years. Every player gets a couple of illustrated pages devoted to style with witty symbols. Kobe Bryant's initial fakes are depicted by replacing Bryant's head with an abacus in order to show his calculating nature. (Honest, it works.)
In between the categories are little sidebars. Two are particularly noteworthy. The authors go through the 2000 NBA Draft, which in hindsight was a rather large waste of time for all concerned.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
He also wrote he wanted to beat to death one of the Benghazi dead son.Published 3 days ago by Rachel Noe
Best basketball book. Amazing diagrams and captures the the early web zeitgeist of basketball writing. Essential.Published 5 months ago by Scott Lewis
You've never dreamed at looking at basketball in such a comprehensive, logical and artful way. I'm amazed at every aspect of this book.Published on August 22, 2011 by Bryan P. North
Already a huge NBA fan and a reader of the FreeDarko blog, I purchased this shortly after its release and devoured every page. And although we're 2. Read morePublished on August 9, 2011 by wubh
Creative descriptions of NBA basketball players for the avid fan. But, the material is already somewhat outdated. Read morePublished on July 11, 2011 by s-reviewer
This book blew my mind - I stopped caring seriously about pro basketball around the David Robinson/Tim Duncan era. Read morePublished on May 28, 2011 by Elliott
I'm two years late to the party on this one but I picked this up recently and was absolutely blown away. Read morePublished on December 15, 2010 by P. Quadrino
I can't put it any better than the judges reaction to Billy Madison's "puppy who lost his way" rant in the final round of his challenge against Eric. Read morePublished on November 4, 2010 by B
This book is the worst I have ever read! It gives you absolutely nothing. Just empty trivial facts about a few players in the NBA..Published on September 28, 2010 by Vinnie Dalehaug