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Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,235 ratings  ·  394 reviews
#1 New York Times bestseller

Who is the greatest dunker of all time? Which version of the Michael Jordan was the best Michael Jordan? What is allowed and absolutely not allowed in a game of pickup basketball? Basketball (and Other Things) presents readers with a whole new set of pivotal and ridiculous fan disputes from basketball history, providing arguments and answers, e
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Harry N. Abrams
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Rory Masterson It has a lot of adult language - cursing, the like - but aside from that, thematically it is pretty much what'd you expect.…moreIt has a lot of adult language - cursing, the like - but aside from that, thematically it is pretty much what'd you expect.(less)

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Thekelburrows
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Shout out to pasteurization." ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Warning: this book will make you feel lonely.

If you like basketball as much as I (or Shea Serrano) do, it will make your confront the depth of your loneliness. You will find out there are other people in the world wondering which Michael Jordan is the best Michael Jordan (no, it's not the 37 ppg one), which disrespectful dunk is the most disrespectful of all-time, what can and can't you do in pick-up basketball (an official chart), etc. And it is not until one us writes a goddamn book about it t
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Sebastien
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine got me this because she knows I love basketball. It's a super fun book and I really enjoy Serrano's writing style. The writing is clever, funny, irreverent, a bit wacky but truly well-crafted. I make a point of catching all his articles now (he writes for The Ringer, a sports/culture site I generally enjoy). He's also incredibly knowledgable and well-versed on the sport, so his analysis is interesting and insightful.

My favorite chapters had to with actual real-world basketball a
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Maggie
Jun 17, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shea is bae. Side-eyeing the hell out of the Reggie Miller foreword though. Was No One not available?
Barnabas Piper
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Serrano is hilarious. I love his writing style and humor and voice. The chapters on what you can/can’t do in pickup ball are so perfect.
Jim
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, basketball
I enjoyed it. I ran hot and cold on the topics, but I really liked the structure (and footnotes). And it was fun to read this and then watch game moments on YouTube.
Brian Hayes
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shea Serrano is my boyfriend.
Scott
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you likes Bill Simmons book, its like that but much funnier.
Isaac Thomas
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was an out of body experience to read a book by someone else who experienced basketball in the 1990's as a child. This book is incredibly funny (I could read the script for James Harden's action movie every day for the rest of my life).

Only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because, like most comedy books, it is hard to read cover to cover. It's a perfect coffee table book.
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Tyler Lamb
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m not actually done reading this book. I’m really not even that far into it. I feel completely comfortable giving it a 5/5 rating. It’s that good. If you’re a basketball fan it’s a must have. If you’re not, there’s a chance you should get it anyway.
Jason
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easygoing and cleverly written, this book hits all of the marks it strives for. Not to mention the illustration is often hilarious. This book is the definition of fun for any basketball fan

Now back to thinkin about Dominique Wilkins dunking on Jesus...
Ray
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very much in the vain of Bill Simmons' "Book of Basketball", Serrano's version is focused on a smaller variety of whimsical questions about basketball's past and present, but questions that are very much in line with my interests.

Which vintage of Michael Jordan was the best vintage, or a year-by-year analysis of whether Kobe Bryant was ever actually the best player in the NBA were smartly done. Serrano easily shows his passion for the sport in his writing, and this makes a nice companion to Sim
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Jackson
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Author gets too cute too often.
Tim O'Hearn
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I feel I can go blow-for-blow with Shea on rap music, I know nothing about basketball. Not to say I'm not a basketball fan, but rather that I'm more of a fan of Shea Serrano than of the sport of basketball. Aside from a few quips which went entirely over my head, the book is accessible to all audiences (though family friendliness depends on the particular family). The few rap references had me salivating, but everything else that was thrown in, which might literally include the kitchen sin ...more
Dennis Barnes
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are a few interesting basketball questions the author attempts to answer and does so by establishing elaborate rules with which to evaluate his proposal. The problem is that many of the questions are just silly and the author's writing style is tedious. It reminds me of Bill Simmons on speed. There are constant references to pop culture and totally irrelevant comparisons.

That style is fine for a short piece on a web site or a magazine, but for a 200+ page book, well, I was glad to finish
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Kawai
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
Brilliant. It’s like having a long conversation with a best friend that’s hella funny and sorta street and a total sports (and movie and hip-hop) geek, the type of conversation that takes hours and never really stops anyways, but you leave your friend’s house at 3am completely satisfied with the whole world.
Elijah Erickson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“This book is made up of 33 chapters. Each chapter is a different basketball question it needs to be answered. Some of them are obviously crucial (Example: What’s the most important NBA championship?) and some of them are secretly crucial (Example: Was Kobe Bryant a dork?). But all of them are approached in ways that I hope you think are smart and fun and nuanced. There are illustrations throughout the book and there some charts in it, too. Also, you should know ahead of time that some of these ...more
Seamus Ronan
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Do you think it would be harder to dunk on Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X? I bet there's no way you get that dunk off on Malcolm X. Malcolm X seems like the type who would for sure hit you with a flagrant foul before he let you dunk on him. "By any means necessary," he'd shout, as he undercut you on your way up like they did Shep in the championship game in Above the Rim. If you get a dunk off on Malcolm X, you really earned that shit."

The NBA was really low on my list of sports leagues
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Andrew Nguyen
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
As someone who loves the NBA but didn't come online until the late 90's, this book was wildly entertaining and informative. Hilarious character dynamics make the NBA the most entertaining league in the world, and Shea does a great job of weaving these hilarious stories into his 25 questions about the NBA. For example, there is a brief, hilarious retelling of how Celtics GM, Danny Ainge, "rocketed the ball 100 miles an hour" into Mario Elie's face during the 1994 WCF. This is then followed by a Z ...more
Mark A
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the unorthodox format and structure. Sometimes Shea can fade far too heavy on humor and his cross-cultural comparisons but I believe he writes things he is passionate about which can cause him to pursue tangents that may not appeal to everyone. I admire his passion and writing style and am envious he had the breadth of knowledge and tenacity to make this book a reality.

I think this book is a good reflection of American sports in general. It doesn't take itself too serious, which sports
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John
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I've heard this described as a poor man's The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons (s/o APP), and I would not disagree. Probably the most succinct, accurate description. Occasionally inane, but never unenjoyable, this book (and celebration, really) of basketball talk is humorous (occasionally vocally, spasm-incudingly so[the personal anecdote on page 186, for example]) and contains some really interesting points. His discussion of Kobe's legacy and position in the league's hierarchy was especially ...more
Scott
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read the original, soft-cover edition of this last year, and loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that when this new hardcover edition with a couple of extra chapters and an added bonus feature was published, I went ahead and got it, too.

I just love Shea Serrano and his writing. I may not know all of his references or completely agree with his feelings for certain players and moments, but the guy is passionate and hilarious. He writes with such an infectious enthusiasm for basketbal
...more
Caroline Heiberg
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you put this book on your coffee table, you will have the coolest coffee table.

If you gift this book to your niece/nephew, you will be the coolest aunt/uncle.

If you carry this around an airport, you will meet the coolest people.

Don’t be lame.




One of the only books I read again and again; BAOT throws more basketball history and comedy than you can handle in just one read. Buy it. Buy it now.
Neel Amin
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew this was going to be a fun read as soon as I read the first paragraph establishing Michael Jordan as the GOAT. Highly recommend for any fan of basketball. The topics discussed range from what year was MJ the best version of himself to if you could dunk on anyone in the world who would it be.
Zeke
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Can't believe I started this so long ago and finally picked this thing up one night and finished it. It's definitely in my sports/pop culture wheelhouse - but I think the schtick just gets a little bit old after reading 200+ pages of Shea's particular brand of writing. The stuff that did make me laugh really made me laugh hard though, so probably more like 3.5 stars. ...more
Eric Linnell
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An incredibly passionate homage to a great sport. This book does some meandering, but that is by design. I would have preferred the book had a bit more of a conclusion as the end seemed very abrupt.
Blake
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the way this made reading about the NBA thought-provoking and fun. I liked the conspiracy theories, and as a watcher of the NBA myself, they all made sense to me. I love a good basketball book so this one got an easy 4 stars.
Jesse Coker
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest sports book ever, and probably the most I have ever enjoyed reading any book of any kind. I learned so much about the history of basketball, and also laughed every single chapter. 5 stars is too few.
JL Hines
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun take on a fun sport

Particularly love the chapter where we compare the relative success of a black bear and Karl Malone if they switched places for a season.
Matt Suder
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
A near perfect GD sports book. Putting the joy of fandom and the wonder of high-level hoops to the page is a simply great. Two thumbs way up.
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