BIG TIME by Phil Berger


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From New York Times sports-reporter Berger (Blood Season: Tyson and the World of Boxing, 1989) comes a novel largely based on the life of the crooked Columbia University basketball player Jack Molinas. Like Jack Molinas, Jake Cardoza--six feet six, handsome, intelligent, charming and utterly amoral--grows up a Bronx schoolboy hero, attends Columbia (here Metro) University in the early 50's, and captains the team to a series of stunning victories. And, like Molinas, Cardoza makes a lot of money conspiring with bookies to shave points off the scores of Metro games. He narrowly escapes being caught, graduates, and goes on to the fledging NBA, where he stars in his rookie season--but is caught betting on games and is suspended indefinitely by the league. Cardoza then becomes a successful lawyer, but can't stay away from the seamy side of life. He's sent to prison for conspiring to Fix NBA games and is finally killed in 1970 by bookies he has crossed. Jake Cardoza is so closely modeled on his real-life counterpart that he's never allowed to breathe a fictional life of his own--resulting in a book that reads less like a novel than a slick magazine article.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1990
Publisher: Dryad--dist. by Taylor