GOD, MAN AND BASKETBALL JONES: The Theory and Practice of Professional Basketball by Charles Rosen

GOD, MAN AND BASKETBALL JONES: The Theory and Practice of Professional Basketball

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Professional basketball is in deep trouble, and television, says Rosen, is the culprit. ""We have been trained by the media to follow the bouncing ball"" and so adulation and money are showered on the high scorer--while it's the intangible quality of ""Basketball Jones"" that creates the ideal flow of the game. In this brief book, he sets out to wean our eye from the scoreboard by showing us what to watch for in every aspect of the game. Statistics can't be trusted because referees are far from impartial. Not only are they influenced by the home crowd (a missed ""tap in"" is called a ""missed shot"" on the road and a rebound at home), they tend to protect white players who are the favorites of white audiences. Then, too, the good players are adept at ""role playing""--fitting into a team concept that is more important than personal accomplishment. It's particularly hard for black players for whom basketball has provided an escape from the ghetto, to adapt to the ""Jonesness"" that demands self-sacrifice. Devoting a chapter to each position of the court, Rosen outlines the role and its relationship to the flow. With examples and anecdotes, he builds up models of just how each position should be played. (A guard must involve his big men early in the game; Rosen describes how Mack Calvin runs the offense for Denver.) At the end of each chapter Rosen offers a 14-category chart that rates the best men at each position (Jerry West, guard; John Havlicek, small forward; Dave DeBusschere, power forward; Bill Russell, center). Along the way he drops all manner of statistics to help the fan to see the game as a whole. Despite some jargon and some sports journalese, this is a solid run-through for fans of all levels above the lowest.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston