Thursday, May 28, 2009

Got game?

The NBA is in the closing stages of the conference finals, with the Lakers and Nuggets duking it out in the west, and Orlando proving surprisingly strong against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. If you like basketball, you've been watching these games. If you really like basketball (and you're under 40), you've been reading The group of writers on this blog don't just analyze stats, they analyze style and break every move down into a mixture of poetry, mechanics and strategy.
They've also just released a book: The Macrophenomemal Pro Basketball Almanac: styles, stats and stars in today's game. In between microscopic analysis of some of the hottest players in the NBA today, the freedarko group (Bethlehem Shoals, Big Baby Belafonte, Brown Recluse, esq., Dr. Lawyer Indianchief and Silverbird5000) sprinkle in some other unusual perspectives on NBA players. Casting the career of Rasheed Wallace as a replay of the history of Western Philosophy is one such example.
Their writing is snarky, but their observations are acute and their criticism trenchant. In the featurette 'The 2000 NBA draft: a legacy of ruin and evil', they dismiss the first-round picks as ranging from "cancerous ball hogs to crumpled nonentities, personifications of boredom, criminals, and guys who were just plain bad at basketball". Ouch.
The illustrations of Big Baby Belafonte contribute to the overall feel of the book and in some cases (breaking down the facial expressions of Lamar Odom) they are a necessary compliment to the text. They're also really cool looking.
A must for hoops fans and anyone who wants to sound truly knowledgeable the next time they go to a sports bar.

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