Hardcourt: Stories from 75 Years of the National Basketball Association

Hardcourt: Stories from 75 Years of the National Basketball Association
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Release Date
January 18, 2022
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The National Basketball Association is the biggest league for one of the nation’s most beloved sports. Played in massive stadiums by athletes who are now household names, with millions of fans around the world, basketball has truly become a global phenomenon. But it didn’t always exist the way we know it now.

Follow basketball from its humble beginnings as a casual indoor pastime played in gyms and colleges through its evolution for seventy-five years of hardcourt history. The NBA gained legions of fans thanks to the introduction of rules like the three-point line and the twenty-four second clock, and teams such as the Harlem Globetrotters, who paved the way for desegregated teams. Discover the story of the legendary Olympic Dream Team of 1992 and beloved players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James, along with the early game-changers who made basketball what it is today.

With the expert storytelling of veteran sportswriter Fred Bowen and stunning full-page illustrations from award-winning artist James E. Ransome, experience the biggest and best basketball league in the world, the NBA.

Editor review

1 review
The NBA, then to now.
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
What worked:
This nonfiction book tells the history of the NBA ranging from James Naismith up until 2021. It makes a great reference book with its index of topics citations of resources. The book is broken up into four quarters, just like a basketball game, and the quarters denote significant periods of history. It begins with the creation of basketball at a YMCA in 1891 and describes how the rules are transformed to improve the game. The score of the first game is 1-0 and had nine players are on each team. Basketball starts to be played across the country, but it needs to become more exciting to watch. The shot clock and three-point line are introduced over the years to create the game we watch today.
The book covers many basketball personalities, some familiar and others not as much. Bill Russell and Julius Erving are two Hall of Fame players who are pioneers, as black athletes are finally allowed to join NBA teams and make a huge impact on the game. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson lead the Celtics and Lakers, as their two teams dominate the league in the 1980’s. George Mikan is the league’s first superstar, and later, the ABA contributes several teams and superior athletes, including George Gervin. Danny Bianoe isn’t a player, but he’s credited with saving the NBA by implementing the shot clock to speed up play. The impact of international and high school players is shared, as the book notes the accomplishments of Hakeem Olajuwon and Moses Malone.
What didn’t work as well:
The book is packed full of colorful drawings, but it would leave a greater impression if they were mixed with actual photographs. Finding pictures from the sport’s origins is probably rare, but photographs of famous players should be easier to locate. Young readers can more easily connect to the book when they see clear images of athletes they have seen on television and in magazines. Nevertheless, the pages are chocked full of interesting information that will keep readers engrossed.
The Final Verdict:
The NBA, then to now. I’ve enjoyed basketball my whole life, and I’ve learned many things about the sport and the NBA after reading this book. It will appeal to anyone loving outstanding athletes, and readers will be entertained learning about the origins of the NBA. I recommend you give it a shot!
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