Tasos Anastasopoulos's Reviews > The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
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's review
Feb 22, 2012

it was amazing
Read in February, 2012

After dealing with a book about baseball in the beginning of the year I thought it would be better to read something more familiar to me so I can be totally aware of stats and terms that I am so much fond of it. I thought that due to my love for the particular sport it won’t take me so much time to finish it despite the fact that it was more than 700 pages but it proved that I was wrong. Not so easy to catch up with the challenge now that I saw at a moment that I was already five books behind. So how come I didn’t read the whole book on time?
Well for sure it wasn’t because I didn’t like it. I mean come on it’s about NBA how could it be possible not to like it right?

I believe that if I ever have the chance to write something like that it will be a bit similar in many ways. I saw that others didn’t approve exactly of Simmons’ style, the way he writes like in facts you have him in front of you and he’s talking, explaining, referring to things that are not always related with the one mentioned just before. I don’t agree with those, I like this “interactive” way of discussion that he has, it’s more immediate like this, I am sure his editor wasn’t so much fond of it (no wonder he earned the nickname “grumpy old editor”) but to me it looks more authentic. Just putting in paper what comes to his mind every moment.

Also I saw that others dislike the fact that being a Celtics fan himself he sees things differently, he is harsh in his critics about Kobe or Kareem but I really didn’t see that. Perhaps there is too much to say about Russell in more than one chapter and how much he’s better than Wilt, but apart from that I don’t see that being a fan of a certain team to have influenced his “Pyramid” of Hall of Fame for instance. A look at where Magic Johnson or Shaq stands proves that. I have different objections that I haven’t seen if others have mentioned them. Well I haven’t read all the critics, just saw the ones “goodreads” have on top and only the beginnings of them so to get an idea if the book is good or not. I think it would be more suitable if everything that was mentioned on the book had to do with teams and players that Simmons has witnessed playing himself. I don’t know if that will be the subject of his second book as he wrote he’s planning to, but it’s not so right putting certain players in a ranking based on others or just by their stats. Perhaps mentioning the ones of the past 3 decades would also be more interesting because the readers themselves have also some opinion about them. I don’t think that there are so old people that saw Wilt or Russell or Havlicek and other great athletes of the past playing. It could have an honorable mention somewhere of the ones that were shining before the 70s and the rest of it should have to do with mostly the modern ones.

I should read more books related with basketball to get a better idea of how good this one was. But I should better find a bit different ones, no need to read once more who is the best of the best, then the second best, or how things were during the 50s 60s etc. It’s nice to have one idea how the rules changed, what was the impact of the new rules, about the ABA, how black players used to be treated in the past, and of course my favorite part was when all those numbers were involved, when the new stats started to be used and which new stats the author suggests to bring in the game. No wonder that I am giving it the maximum stars but ok it’s because it’s not so easy to run into such a thesaurus about basketball. Those who don’t like it will stop reading it from the early pages (I was surprised to see that there was one review from a woman that doesn’t watch basketball…how could she go till the end, insomnia issues perhaps?), the others just won’t stop till the end, plus the fans of a certain team or player will argue with the writer. For those of you who own the kindle version like I did you will notice that the thing with the references is a bit weird, since every chapter has almost more than 50 ones and it’s not so easy to go back and forth to see what was mentioned. But ok he is not to be blamed for that, to his surprise I am sure this book was pretty much successful also as an e-book version.

Anyone that read this review and knows any other basketball related book that can be found in kindle just post it in the comments thread below, searching in goodreads didn’t come up with so many results. I am trying to find “The Fabulous Five” but no luck so far…

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