- 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,090,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball Paperback – February 7, 2006
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*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.
“This will be the most discussed book of the NBA season.” ―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
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Top customer reviews
The stereotype is all there of the family living in the projects with numerous males having had legal problems including the father, to the "add-on brother" who did not make the NBA after a great college career. I'm reminded of a line from a Jimmy Buffett song, "Through the whole thing my new friend stood grinning" which pretty much sums up Telfair's demeanor through this season which will determine how rich he can become and how soon. And it's only his senior year in high school!
O'Connor adds exceptional research and really attempts to understand all those close to the decision: father, mother, brother in jail on suspicion of murder, former & jilted AAU coach, current and shady AAU coach and the agents who want to serve Telfair. O'Connor seems not to have an agenda but just watches and reports as it all unfolds not seeming to take sides or offer moral opinions. And it works!
If you want to learn about the high-stakes world of a basketball prospect teetering between not being drafted and striking it rich, this is the book. There may be many who morally judge high school ballplayers going straight to the pros but I believe if the owners want to pay the money, any young man from a humble background has an obligation to investigate his potential. This book will appeal to anyone who is a college or pro basketball fan and is concerned with players skipping college.
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.
Telfair is surrounded by all sorts of hangers-on who want to ride him to glory: Ziggy Scaginano(sic), the former coach who first pinpointed Sebastian for greatness; Tiny Morton, Bassy's high school coach who falls under investigation for his participation in various tournaments for cash; Sonny Vaccaro, the former Adiddas and ReeBok chief who first courts Telfair then trys to undermine him allegedly; Stephon Marbury, Telfair's famous (and in the Telfair household, infamous) cousin; Rick Pitino, the college coach who banked on Telfair attending school instead; and a host of executives from NBA teams and sneaker companies, all with their eyes on the prize that is the Next Big Thing. And in their eyes, that Next Big Thing is a point guard named Sebastian Telfair.
It would be fair to say that I'm not a huge basketball fan; I enjoy the game, but know little about it. In "The Jump", I think it's fair to say even a non-NBA fan would find something worthy to read. Whether it's Telfair's own struggles to transcend his enviroment without losing his soul, or the various goings-on that conspire to make his jump to the pros all that more difficult, O'Connor never loses sight of the narrative flow that makes this compelling story even more interesting.
Modern sports has become a big-time business, and in "The Jump" Ian O'Connor documents how one player manages to keep his head above the water of endorsements, shady friends and agents, and the pressures of a typical high-school athelete magnified under the national spotlight. Sebastian Telfair may turn out to be the Next Big Thing, or the Next Big Flop. But you won't forget him when you finish the long and winding road to his jump.