What do Julius Erving, Larry Brown, Moses Malone, Bob Costas, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Slam Dunk Contest have in common? They all got their professional starts in the American Basketball Association.
The NBA may have won the financial battle, but the ABA won the artistic war. With its stress on wide-open individual play, the adoption of the 3-point shot and pressing defense, and the encouragement of flashy moves and flying dunks, today's NBA is still—decades later —just the ABA without the red, white and blue ball.
Loose Balls is, after all these years, the definitive and most widely respected history of the ABA. It's a wild ride through some of the wackiest, funniest, strangest times ever to hit pro sports—told entirely through the (often incredible) words of those who played, wrote and connived their way through the league's nine seasons.
Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city?
Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations.
Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new ballpark . . . wild comeback victories . . . a record sellout streak . . . two trips to the World Series . . . and a city crazed with Indians fever.
Revisit baseball’s most fearsome lineup: Albert Belle’s mighty swing and ferocious glare . . . Jim Thome’s moon-shot home runs . . . Omar Vizquel’s poetry-in-motion play at shortstop . . . Kenny Lofton’s exhilarating baserunning and over-the-wall catches . . .
These two Cleveland baseball veterans were there for it all. Now, they combine firsthand experience and in-depth player interviews to tell a richly detailed story that Tribe fans will love.
That’s the kind of response Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto draws from devoted readers of his faith column. Although best known as an award-winning sportswriter, Pluto has also earned a reputation—and a growing audience—for his down-to-earth musings on more spiritual subjects.
This followup to his first collection, “Everyday Faith,” offers 28 all-new thoughtful essays on faith in everyday life—practical topics such as choosing a church, lending money to friends, dealing with jerks, sharing your faith, visiting the sick, even planning a funeral.
Perhaps it’s because Pluto doesn’t claim to have the answers that so many readers are drawn to his writing.
“Real faith writing should be about real life,” Pluto says. “I write as much about my failures as my triumphs, because that is what a life of faith is about. It’s often as much suffering as celebration, with lots of mundane, everyday stuff in between. I write for people who may have been hurt by someone in church, people who have been discouraged by one who claimed to speak for God . . . I write for people who have found contentment in their faith but want a deeper relationship with God.”
This book collects dozens of his popular essays about ethical and moral issues we all face in everyday life. Like getting along with our siblings. Setting a better example for our children. Listening better to our spouses. How money makes us do silly things. The lure of gossip. Feeling lonely. Giving in to anger. How we feel when our prayers go unanswered.
Pluto writes from a very personal perspective, as when he discusses the vanity of his own approach to baldness, or reveals white lies he has used to make himself feel better, or describes the temptation to tell off his boss at work. This honestly humble approach to finding the spiritual in the ordinary gives Pluto’s writing broad appeal.
“I don’t care if you’re a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, or a skeptic; there is a spiritual thirst in most of us,” Pluto says. “I try to write about God and us and what that means for our lives.”
For a sportswriter who never thought he’d write about faith, Pluto has brought a great deal of meaning to the lives of his readers. This collection will serve as a great way for Pluto fans to revisit the many inspirations found in his writing—and to share them with a new audience.
“My goal is not to convert anyone reading the paper," Terry writes. "It is to make them think, and to bring some comfort. I write for people who are struggling with faith, or people in pain—physical or emotional. My job is to give them a voice, and to talk about the kind of faith we need to get through what life throws at us each day.”
Terry already had a dream job: getting paid to write about sports for a daily newspaper. But when the opportunity arose to write about more spiritual topics, he embraced the challenge. Readers are glad he did. His “Faith and You” column now regularly touches the lives of thousands of loyal readers.
Terry writes for people who aren’t always confident in their beliefs but know faith is still important to them . . . For people who sometimes get mad at their church or disagree with their pastor yet don’t want to lose the spiritual side of their lives . . . For people of different faiths or backgrounds or who aren’t even sure they’re religious. These essays don’t claim to have all the answers. But the questions they raise give readers something to think about all week.
Two award-winning sports journalists give an in-depth look at how a team and a city were rebuilt around superstar LeBron James.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers drew the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft, an entire city buzzed with excitement. After all, how often does a LeBron James come along? Especially for Cleveland, a midmarket Rust Belt city without a sports championship in forty years. Especially for the Cavaliers, a long-struggling team that had never reached the NBA finals.
Soon, everyone had something riding on LeBron—billionaire team owner Dan Gilbert looking for a return on his investment . . . teammates eager for a championship ring . . . the league in need of the next Michael Jordan to promote . . . the shoe company with its multimillion-dollar endorsement deal . . . even popcorn vendors in the stands of Quicken Loans Arena and servers waiting restaurant tables in a downtown that now booms every game night.
Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst tell the converging stories of a struggling franchise that had to get worse in order to get better and a highly touted teenage phenom, the local kid who became their future.
This book will fascinate any basketball fan who wants the inside story of how LeBron James became the young superstar shouldering the weight of an entire NBA franchise. Chock full of facts and analysis.