Here are some titles that go beyond the basics of how the game is played and who the stars are. Instead, these titles look into how the off-court lives of players affect the on-court lives of players and vice versa.
- Award-winning director Dee Mosbacher’s 2010 documentary Training Rules: No Drinking, No Drugs, No Lesbians, explores sexual discrimination in women’s basketball by following Penn State’s former basketball champ Jennifer Harris as she takes on the institutionalized homophobia of coach Rene Portland.
- Doug Merlino’s brand new book The Hustle: One Team and Ten Lives in Black and White tells the story of a Seattle AAU team comprised half of privileged white kids and half relatively poor African-American students. But unlike the inspirational and uplifting tales we’ve seen in the past (think Hoop Dreams or Remember the Titans), this real-life tale ends with some tragic realities as Merlino follows the lives of those original team members.
- Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America’s Youth by Dan Wetzel and Don Yaeger: Discusses the shadier side of recruiting players from AAU and youth basketball leagues and how the big shoe companies of the sport play a part.
- Wheelchair Warrior: Gangs, Disability, and Basketball by Melvin Juette and Ronald J. Berger: “A former gang member who is now wheelchair-bound after being shot and paralyzed in a gang dispute, offers an informative ethnography on both gang life and wheelchair basketball.” From School Library Journal
On the lighter side of basketball:
- James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball by Rob Rains: A one-of-a-kind book written with the cooperation of Naismith’s family and the use of his private letters and documents. One of the most complete biographies of this
- FreeDarko Presents the Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (worth it for the mustache index if nothing else)
- The First Tip-Off: The Incredible story of the birth of the NBA by Charley Rosen
Hopefully these can keep you busy on those quiet, gameless Friday nights.