A thoroughly enjoyable read and a useful tool for any serious NBA fan.

Beating the NBA: Tales From a Frugal Fan

Bishara, in a must-read for professional-basketball junkies, chronicles his journey as he sees 25 National Basketball Association games without paying face value for the tickets.

The author, a diehard NBA fan, understands the frustration that so many people feel when they see the exorbitant prices that teams charge for tickets. His debut serves as a guide for fans who want to find the best deals on tickets but don’t have experience dealing with scalpers or scouring the Internet. Bishara takes readers game by game as he explains how he acquires his ticket for each of 25 games, lists how much he paid, and compares that price to the ticket’s face value. However, these stories not only provide practical advice for getting the best bargains, but also offer plenty of entertainment. Whether he’s scoring free tickets from a local bartender or getting ripped off by a scam artist in Chicago, the author’s love for the game of basketball and for bargain hunting is always apparent. The stories don’t always end with a ticket purchase, either; Bishara scopes out each city’s nightlife and each arena’s beer selection and provides smart commentary on the state of each franchise. He writes in a conversational style, reporting on every aspect of his experience as a helpful friend might, and breaks up the stories with interviews with a veteran scalper and the head of a dynamic-pricing software company. Both interviews are incredibly interesting, and offer readers insiders’ perspectives on two very different sides of the ticket market. Although Bishara writes from the point of view of an average fan, he also displays a thorough understanding of how ticket pricing works and how that market is evolving. He also provides a valuable “Reflections” chapter, in which he hands out awards for the best arena food, the most thriving scalper trade, the most attractive cheerleaders and more.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and a useful tool for any serious NBA fan.

Pub Date: June 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479264186

Page Count: 334

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.

WHEN THE GAME WAS OURS

NBA legends Bird and Johnson, fierce rivals during their playing days, team up on a mutual career retrospective.

With megastars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and international superstars like China’s Yao Ming pushing it to ever-greater heights of popularity today, it’s difficult to imagine the NBA in 1979, when financial problems, drug scandals and racial issues threatened to destroy the fledgling league. Fortunately, that year marked the coming of two young saviors—one a flashy, charismatic African-American and the other a cocky, blond, self-described “hick.” Arriving fresh off a showdown in the NCAA championship game in which Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans defeated Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores—still the highest-rated college basketball game ever—the duo changed the course of history not just for the league, but the sport itself. While the pair’s on-court accomplishments have been exhaustively chronicled, the narrative hook here is unprecedented insight and commentary from the stars themselves on their unique relationship, a compelling mixture of bitter rivalry and mutual admiration. This snapshot of their respective careers delves with varying degrees of depth into the lives of each man and their on- and off-court achievements, including the historic championship games between Johnson’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics, their trailblazing endorsement deals and Johnson’s stunning announcement in 1991 that he had tested positive for HIV. Ironically, this nostalgic chronicle about the two men who, along with Michael Jordan, turned more fans onto NBA basketball than any other players, will likely appeal primarily to a narrow cross-section of readers: Bird/Magic fans and hardcore hoop-heads.

Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-547-22547-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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