Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Soul of Basketball -- Ian Thomsen ------------------------- 3 Stars

If there was ever a perfectly rated 3 star book, it is this - The Soul of Basketball. There were fascinating and engaging parts, that made me so pleased to be reading this group; while there are also large parts that were difficult to get through. Half the time I couldn't put it down, and half the time I couldn't get through parts. A perfect 3 star book.

The title was one of the most alluring aspects of why I picked it up. Unlike most books I read, it was not recommended or reviewed highly. Rather, I LOVE basketball and had not read a good book about in years.  This title made me think this book might really get into why basketball is in its current state. What it is exactly that motivates the greats to play. Well, it did that on some rare occasions; which was great. Most of the book, however, was just trudging through 10 year old game highlights told via words.

I did appreciate some of the in-depth interviews with Pat Riley, Doc Rivers, Dirk, etc. There were some fascinating insights and great stories told about LeBron, Kobe, Paul Pierce, etc. Unfortunately, some went on way too long with large parts of the dialogue included neither interesting nor super relevant material. My biggest complaint of the book was the odd organization of the chapters. It seemed there was no real structure to why things were included. This was a bit hard too figure; really, for the first half, it just seemed like different vignettes about each player.

It's hard to recommend this book to anyone but a basketball junkie (like myself). There were aspects were I thought the author really did posit thoughts about what the soul of basketball really means. What the motivations, backgrounds, ideals, etc. that pushed some of the great players to be great. However, those parts were far and few between and what was left was average prose about 10-15 year old basketball games.

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