The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA Hardcover – Illustrated, April 17, 2018
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"In his groundbreaking book The Soul of Basketball, Ian Thomsen has crafted fascinating and revealing insights into a pivotal time in the NBA involving the game's biggest stars. This is a must read for all basketball junkies." –Jackie MacMullan, bestselling author of When the Game was Ours (with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson) and Shaq Uncut (with Shaquille O’Neal)
“Bravo! About time! Ian Thomsen provides an antidote to the fast-food, twitter feed of instant information consumption. Travel back to the 2010 NBA season, when LeBron and his two amigos arrived in Miami, when Dirk asserted himself in Dallas, when the league went through an economic and social convulsion. Marinate to see all the repercussions. Tell the tale with deft prose and snappy anecdotes and bring us all up to speed on what might come next. Great, great stuff.” –Leigh Montville, NYT bestselling author of The Big Bam and Sting Like a Bee
“If you think the NBA is strictly about talent, mixed in with some Xs and Os, and, oh, yes, the dreaded “A-word” — Analytics — guess again. Master reporter and dream writer Ian Thomsen reminds us the game is played with fascinating people, who bring both human greatness and vulnerability. Beginning with the folly of “The Decision,” Thomsen traces LeBron’s evolution from somewhat confused superstar to the multi-time champion he has become. In addition, he probes the psyches of Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Pat Riley and Doc Rivers, among others. What David Halberstam did for the NBA fan of the late 70s and 80s in “The Breaks Of The Game,” Thomsen does for contemporary NBA buffs.” –Bob Ryan, author of Scribe: My Life in Sports
“Ian Thomsen is the perfect writer to show us "The Soul of Basketball.'' While baseball grew old, and the NFL dealt with multiple crises, the NBA has emerged as America's game of the present and future. Riding sidecar with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Gregg Popovich, Ian was there for all of it and tells us how the NBA became our national pastime.”—Dan Shaughnessy, bestselling author of Francona (with Terry Francona)
"A fine work of sports journalism and a must for every bookish roundball fan."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Thomsen’s ability to get personal, especially with unlikely sources, will hook readers . . . By thoughtfully plumbing the NBA’s biggest names, Thomsen offers a fascinating, thorough look at pro basketball’s continuing evolution to becoming the 'sport of the American Dream.'"—Publishers Weekly
"Insightful, deeply researched."—D Magazine
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I lived the miami heat situation very close, was living in west palm beach, this nba lost against dallas was and still very painful but at least now, i discovered more reasons why they won.
The Miami heat situation was very complex, because the big 3 almost took all the salary, so Miami had to look for old, almost washed players for 2 or 3 millions/year, these players could not keep up with very young physical teams. ..and at some point it was nit really a big 3 bc Wade spent more time sick than healthy after the first 2 years, Lebron was doing it all...And it very painful to see that miami never had a real pointgaurd.
Now i respect Pat Riley a little more by admitting so e of his mistakes. Very proud of him.
.One of the biggest difference is the Kobe mentality financially and Duncan, Dirk. The last 2 years of kobe s carrer, he got payed 48.5 M while being sick most of the time, i don't blame him because the lakers has the money and kobe was the only only lakers player that people went to see play but Duncan and Dirk accepted way less money to help their teams.
I enjoyed to see how the league has changed,how the referrees see the game, the growth of some players and the complications having to do with running a team.
The only thing keeping it from getting 5 stars is that some of the narrative choices are unusual. There's a whole lot on the Big 3, Doc, Rondo, and the Celtics. Meanwhile, the Spurs and their at least equally interesting coach get short shrift. Similarly, the chapter on Joey Crawford and the referees feels like an afterthought that doesn't serve much of a narrative purpose. But all of that is picking nits-- if you like the NBA, pick this one up.