Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA” as Want to Read:
The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  3,845 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In The Art of a Beautiful Game, Chris Ballard, the award-winning Sports Illustrated writer who has covered the NBA for the past decade, goes behind the scenes to examine basketball in ways that will surprise even die-hard fans. An inveterate hoops junkie who played some college ball, Ballard sits down with the NBA's most passionate, cerebral players to find out their trick ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Simon Schuster (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Art of a Beautiful Game, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Art of a Beautiful Game

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,845 ratings  ·  84 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA
A.J. Howard
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There is a curious attitude among a certain sect of basketball fans that frequently is voiced around this time of year. Many passionate basketball fans actively disdain the college variety. Since I am guilty of this prejudice, I feel like I can lay out the thoughts behind it. I don't think it's a reaction to the product of college hoop itself, but a reaction to others' reaction. Call it The King's Speech effect. College basketball represents a perfectly entertaining display of hoops, but when ot

Kyle Ron
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a fella with the AIM screenname NBA ALLSTA from 6th grade to now 30 years of age, I appreciated and loved soaking up every word of this book.

If you love basketball and appreciate the game for all of it's wonderful components then this is the book you need to read!

Thank you Chris Ballard for this fascinating nugget of basketball gold.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
I spend a lot of time defending my love of basketball in general and the NBA in particular to people who regurgitate the same tired arguments ("They only try hard in the playoffs," "You only have to watch the last two minutes," "The college kids play with so much more PASSION," etc.) without having given the matter any critical thought. Instead of engaging with these people in the future, I should probably just loan them my copy of this book. Within about 300 pages, they'll have the opportunity ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
It was probably much more interesting and relevant 9 years ago when it was published. Reading about impressive work ethic was enjoyable. The stories about Steve Nash were great. There was a whole chapter on Lebron, and that seems to have been prophetic given his consecutive Finals run since then.
Tie Kim
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
As a basketball junkie and YMCA weekend warrior, I had to read Chris Ballard’s book on the aesthetic beauty of the game invented by Dr. James Naismith over 122 years ago. Ballard, who writes for Sports Illustrated, shares the conversations he’s had with LeBron, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and countless others. This book will not improve your game (i.e., it’s not an instructional manual), but it does offer revelations on why Kobe is so hyper-competitive, how Shane Battier prepares for his de ...more
Mark Geise
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a big basketball fan, I liked it a lot. Ballard looks at a different special skill in each chapter and discusses an interview with a player that displays that skill. For example, he discusses pure shooters and goes into a shooting game that he played against Steve Kerr for this book. He writes about defensive specialists with an interview and analysis of Shane Battier's game. Though it's nothing groundbreaking, I think it's interesting to hear basketball players speak outside the cliches of m ...more
Lindsay Gillingham
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book because not only does it discuss the physical challenges that elite athletes face but the mental challenges too. The author, Chris Ballard, analyzes the important aspects of the game of basketball through different players. Many chapters include the stories about what drives each player and how they are able to become ready to play. I would recommend this book to those that would like to learn more about the sport that they love.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every basketball nerd needs to read this book it covers pretty much every aspect of basketball from the intense offseason workouts all the way to the mamba mentality of Kobe Brayant. This is probably my favorite book ive ever read
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
On Wednesday (11 May 2018), I finished reading “The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA” (2009©) – written by: Chris Ballard. The game in question is basketball and not soccer – which is what I assumed the book would be about until I opened it. My copy did not come with the dust cover and the sub-title is not on the binding. Oh, well…

This book is a blend of various types of sports authorship: part biography, part techniques and skills, part biology, part X’s and O’s and p
George Travers
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing

George Travers
American Literature
15 January, 2016
NBA Fans Fiction Becomes a Reality
“Splash! Steve Kerr drains another three pointer! The fifth of the game for him!” yelled the announcer. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet Steve Kerr and have a shooting contest with him? The Art of a Beautiful Game by Chris Ballard is the perfect book for NBA lovers and any hoop junkie. This nonfiction book looks at every aspect of the game of basketball and the players who were the be
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: baloncesto
The author, Chris Ballard, claims there is an art in basketball, that only certain players can master it, for it requires a combination of dedication, talent and intuition.

This book is not about how the pick-and-roll could be played ot about the most compelling moments in the game. It's not about one season or the inner workings of a team or the genius of a coach. Ballard says that the book is rather about the beauty of basketball, it pretends to be a celebration of the game and those who play i
Thomas Stephens
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Being a basketball fan and player, this book expressed the beauty of the game and opened my eyes to how impactful the game of basketball is. I chose to read this book because I simply love anything related to the game of basketball so how could reading this book hurt? Ballard goes the extra mile to provide knowledge about the game and basically explains all facets of the game through player analysis and more. Basketball may seem like just a simple game to put a rubber ball in a basket, but Balla ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I gave this a 3 although thought about giving it a 4. It is good, but I didn't give it a 4 because it isn't as cohesive as I'd like, just more fun bits and pieces.

I skipped around a bit but the author had fun stories (I highly recommend the Steve Kerr section for Warriors fans) that focused around different skills and parts of basketball (e.g. free throw shooting, blocking). I definitely didn't realize how good of a shooter Kerr is, the author does 3 point shooting with Kerr years after he retir
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
The idea behind the book is good, and Ballard definitely had access all the biggest names in the NBA in his role as a Sports Illustrated writer. But the unnecessary profanity was a bit disappointing. (I don't remember SI having that much cussing, though it's been a while since I read it.)

Also there was something about addressing each basketball topic with a current (in 2009) player, that made it seem very dated. You get the feeling that the players being hyped as especially gifted in an area --
Timeo Williams
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The book was decent, but lacked the technicalities of the game necessary to be deemed a thinking fan's tour of the NBA.

Yes, you will learn about what separates the best passers, rebounders, dunkers, shot-blockers, and scorers from the rest, but that is too one-dimensional.

There is no information of the game as a whole, scoring tactics(i.e pick and roll). offensive and defensive strategies and a philosophy of the game.
John Hsieh
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sports
Enjoyable read, some chapters are more interesting than others
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Basketball is way funner to read about than politics!
Dao Hung
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very benefit with me because it supports lots of good informations about art of playing basketball, they teach me how to play basketball, rules and how to make a good freethrow.
Dec 10, 2019 added it
i think about this book is cool
2.5 Stars
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book gave me an entirely new appreciation for the game.
Jalen Townsend
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
The Art of a beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA by Chris Ballard was a good informational book. I knew choosing this book that it would talk about specific professional basketball players and coaches, but I wasn't ready for what information the players in this book were going to give out. The book was only slow in the beginning for each chapter then toward the end of every chapter it would pull me deep into the book because of the surprising information the players were giving. M ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
“The Art of a Beautiful Game” by Chris Ballard is a amazing book, if you are a basketball fan you have to read this book. It talks about all the different aspects of basketball, also it talks about some NBA stars that made a legacy in the NBA for example in the beginning they talk about Kobe Bryant and how good of a shot he was and still is. I thought in the beginning that this book would be terrible because it was just talking about Kobe Bryant but then I read ahead some and I found out that ea ...more
Curtis Seven
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
While I think the title is a bit of a misnomer this book is all the same pretty masterfully done and we'd expect no less from a Sports Illustrated writer. I think I'd characterized it with more emphasis on the behind the scenes aspect than the "thinking fan's" claim. Here is no great treatise on various strategies employed and how they vary from player to coach and so on but then to be fair that would be a tough thing to accomplish. This is more insightful in terms of giving a person a look into ...more
Mayur Patel
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the book" The Art of a Beautiful Game" By: Chris Ballard, Ballard who is a award winning Sports Illustrated writer who has covered the NBA for a decade goes behind the scenes and examines the way certain players and coaches do their job and what is so beautiful about the way each one of them does their job. I personally believe that the way Ballard wrote this book some of the information he has May not be trustworthy but, I still for some reason provide some trust since it's a published book. ...more
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Stockenauer
The title of the book I read is The Art of A Beautiful Game. The author is Chris Ballard. It’s about how basketball is a great game and it is also about how great moments happened in the game of basketball. It’s all about winning and basketball is a really competitive sport and people get hurt bad in it. Some characters they talk about are Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Russell Westbrook ect.. I recommend this book because if you don’t know a lot about basketball, this book will help you learn so ...more
Kenny Li
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-2013
The Art of a Beautiful Game explores the highest level of basketball, the NBA, in a very interesting way. It explores the NBA through a fan's perspective, not a author's perspective. Learning all about the current NBA greats like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and much more. You learn about how each player is able to excel at what they do what makes them do it so well.

A little glimpse of the book is that it starts out talking about Kobe's killer instinct. After reading it, I don't know if he's actua
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional sports book, even though it is less ballyhooed than Bill Simmons's The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy. Chris Ballard gets some great interviews, from major stars like Shaq, LeBron James, and Steve Nash, as well as less heralded players like Shane Battier, Steve Kerr, and Craig Ehlo. The chapters are broken down into aspects of the game (shooting, rebounding, dunks, blocks, defense, killer instinct, etc.) and it makes the reader appreciate how it is ...more
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
An unique glimpse into the work ethic of NBA players. Ballard's thesis is pretty much: NBA players (and I suppose professional athletes of all sorts) work way way harder than you think and that yes, they are very talented, but only the truly devoted rise to athletic superstardom, mostly due to the countless hours of hard work they put in off the court. I would say Ballard is of the new generation of sports writers, that is, the ones who look at sports (in this case, basketball) from a different ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • When the Game Was Ours
  • The Jordan Rules: The Inside Story of One Turbulent Season with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls
  • Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever
  • The Mamba Mentality: How I Play
  • Michael Jordan: The Life
  • The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul
  • The Blind Side
  • Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, the American Dream
  • Return of the King: LeBron James, The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History
  • Shaq Uncut: Tall Tales and Untold Stories
  • The Breaks of the Game
  • Heat
  • The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams
  • Driven from Within
  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
  • The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy
  • Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant
  • Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity
See similar books…

Related Articles

Here in the United States, it's football season. It's time of great rivalry, wearing of team colors, and obsessing over the...
10 likes · 11 comments
“Now, granted, Howard doesn't fit the conventional psychological profile of a rebounder - that of the no-nonsense, utilitarian "dirty work" specialist. Rather, this is a guy who sings Beyoncé at the free throw line, who quotes not Scarface but Finding Nemo, whose idea of humor is ordering 10 pizzas to be delivered to another player's hotel room, or knocking on teammates' doors and sprinting off down the hall, giggling. He goofs around during practice, during press conferences and during team shootarounds, for which Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has had to institute a no-flatulence rule because, as teammate Rashard Lewis says, "Dwight really likes to cut the cheese.” 2 likes
“For proof, I present Tom Amberry, a retired podiatrist who lives in Southern California. In 1993, at the age of 71, Amberry set a Guinness World Record by sinking 2,750 consecutive free throws. That is not a typo” 0 likes
More quotes…