With painstaking reportage, Kathy Orton vividly captures the internal fervor of the personalities who champion their gameùall the triumphs and disappointments of an Ivy hoop season. Scholarships for student athletes? None, and this is the only Division I conference that does not offer them. The TV spotlight? It barely shines, despite the passion, talent, and commitment of the players. Megadollar contracts from the NBA? Rarely does a player receive an offer. These age-old institutions are better known for turning out presidents, not point guards, and CEOs and captains of industry, not centers on the court.
Orton weaves together the stories of coaches and players as they move from fall practice through an entire season and ahead to the NCAA tournament. From Harvard to Penn, Princeton to Cornell and beyond, playersùperhaps more accustomed to pomp and circumstanceùface leaky gyms, endure long bus rides, rigorous courseloads, and unbearable exam schedules. Why? Just to prove they can hang with the big boys despite juggling multiple non-athletic responsibilities? Maybe. But more importantly, for the sincere love of the game.
Outside the Limelight provides frontcourt vision for college basketball fans everywhere to achieve an appreciation of this captivating conference and for diehard enthusiasts to gain greater insight into what brings Ivy League basketball to center circle.
Led by Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt, UConn and Tennessee combined for nine national championships, with the UConn Huskies winning five--including four against the Tennessee Lady Vols. In all, UConn won thirteen of twenty-two matchups during the rivalry, and along the way the two coaches--with distinctive and brash personalities and a shared determination to rule their sport--clashed privately and publicly, generating enough heat to make women's basketball relevant in the national sports landscape as never before.
On the court, the two teams produced a series of memorable games, from overtime thrillers to timeless classics that defined the sport. Off the court, the coaches' encounters were often marked by their seemingly genuine dislike for each other, until the conflict reached a breaking point in 2007 and Summitt stunned the basketball world by canceling the series for reasons neither side has ever revealed.
Now, eight years after the last game, Unrivaled uncovers the on-court and behind-the-scenes story of this intensely personal rivalry between coaches, players, and the two most passionate fan bases women's sports has ever known.
In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant has decided to share his vast knowledge and understanding of the game to take readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary “Mamba mentality.” Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it “the right way,” The Mamba Mentality takes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.
For the first time, and in his own words, Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.
Bryant’s detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. Bernstein, long the Lakers and NBA official photographer, captured Bryant’s very first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016—and hundreds of thousands in between, the record of a unique, twenty-year relationship between one athlete and one photographer.
The combination of Bryant’s narrative and Bernstein’s photos make The Mamba Mentality an unprecedented look behind the curtain at the career of one of the world’s most celebrated and fascinating athletes.