Looking for something to do between now and the playoffs—that is, other than watching college basketball? Here are six of the biggest must-reads that have dropped since the season began, all guaranteed to change your perspective on the NBA and the sport of basketball. You’re welcome.
Dr. J: The Autobiography
They don’t make legends like they used to, or at least not like Julius “The Doctor” Erving. In a world of ghost writers and know-it-all basketball historians, this book was actually penned by the legendary former 76er himself, and delves into the more private areas of Erving’s life. This is the man who made the slam dunk mainstream in the league—so just read it already.
Brooklyn Bounce: The Highs and Lows of Nets Basketball’s Historic First Season in the Borough
Brought to us by talented writer Jake Appleman (who’s known for his work in the New York Times, SLAM and NBA.com, among others), Brooklyn Bounce is a must-read for any Nets fans. It takes readers from the beginning of the team’s epic inaugural 2012-13 season all the way through to their (ultimately doomed) seven-game bout with the Chicago Bulls, chronicling all the surprises along the way. If you’ve ever been interested in where the paradoxical team started, this is the definitive guide.
Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s
Few NBA teams have a greater legacy to live up to than the Los Angeles Lakers, whose dynasty began in the 1980s at a time when Magic Johnson was brand new the game. This book explores exactly how LA became the powerhouse it is today, and Jeff Pearlman holds nothing back when examining how they arrived at their unique brand of entertainment meets athleticism with the late Jerry Buss at the helm.
Pau Gasol Life Vida
If you’re not too keen on actually reading, this book offers an incredibly detailed account of Pau Gasol’s life off the court, illustrated with more than 200 photographs taken by award-winning photographer Lori Shepler. Gasol reveals private details about his personal world in both English and his native Spanish, making this a particularly interesting window into his charm, athleticism, philanthropy and hobbies.
Sammy Wong, All-American
If you ever wondered about the struggles of Asian-American players in the NBA, this book by Charley Rosen offers a unique perspective. Few books, whether fiction or non-fiction, offer as poignant a look at the underrepresentation of Asians in the NBA as this novel. It follows Sammy Wong, the son of a New York restaurant owner, and follows his rise in the world of basketball. Along the way, he learns to reconcile the differences between the culture he was born into and the one he plays in.
SLAM Kicks: Basketball Sneakers that Changed the Game
There are many definitive guides to the game of basketball, but this is the first we’ve seen dedicated solely to the soles of the sport. Through incredible photography, this primer walks readers through the history of basketball sneakers, from their humble beginnings in the 1930s all the way to contemporary times when how good sneaks look is just as important as how they perform. Be prepared to relive the original Chuck Taylor All-Star, the Nike Air Force One and even the cultural phenomenon known as the Nike Air Jordan line.