Drawing on extensive interviews-with former teammates, opponents, coaches, friends, and rivals-critically acclaimed author Michael Schumacher presents, for the first time, a wonderfully nuanced portrait of one of the most unheralded athletes of our time, and a fascinating look at the birth of the National Basketball Association.
"Schumacher (Family Business) explores the on-court life and legacy of George Mikan, the big man who revolutionized both college and professional basketball as a dominant center in the '40s and '50s and as the American Basketball Association's first commissioner in the 1960s. Several rules in the modern game were enacted to offset 6'10" Mikan's uncommon height advantage at the time: his shot-blocking ability for DePaul University led to the goaltending rule in college basketball in 1943, and his rebounding and scoring for the Minneapolis Lakers prompted the nascent NBA to widen the free-throw lane from six feet to 12 feet in 1951. Wilt Chamberlain described Mikan as the "first true superstar of the league," and Shaquille O'Neal, who paid for Mikan's funeral when he died in 2005 in dire financial straits due to the expenses of his health problems, said, "Without George Mikan, there is no me." A native of Joliet, Ill., Mikan was from a Croatian family and remained a true Midwesterner to the end, Schumacher writes. Schumacher's narrative sometimes gets bogged down with tedious, almost box score-like itemizing of the numerous games from Mikan
Light Blue Reign documents the building of a program, a behindthe- scenes, far-reaching, wide-angle perspective on one of the most formidable college basketball teams in the country. Art Chansky, a sportswriter who has covered basketball on Tobacco Road for more than 30 years, uses first-hand accounts from interviews with people who were present during the fifty-year dynasty to construct an intimate, detailed narrative of what it was like to play and work for the three Hall of Fame coaches who defined this era of success.
John B. McLendon was the last living protégé of basketball’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith, and one of the “top ten basketball coaches of the century” in Billy Packer’s opinion. McLendon’s amazing records in college and pro basketball earned him a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame (the first black coach to be inducted), and his coaching philosophy has had a huge influence on basketball coaches. Breaking Through is also a powerful and inspirational story about segregation and a champion’s struggle for equality in 1940s and 50s America.
Black Magic, ESPN’s Peabody Award–winning documentary about players and coaches who attended historically black colleges and universities, covers many of the events in McLendon’s life that Katz writes about in his book.
John McLendon was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Walker vividly re-creates the action of nail-biting games and the tensions of bitter recruiting battles without losing sight of the central off-court questions the league wrestled with during these two decades. As basketball became the ACC's foremost attraction, conference administrators sought to field winning teams while improving academic programs and preserving academic integrity. The ACC also adapted gradually to changes in the postwar South, including, most prominently, the struggle for racial justice during the 1960s. ACC Basketball is a lively, entertaining account of coaches' flair (and antics), players' artistry, a major point-shaving scandal, and the gradually more evenly matched struggle for dominance in one of college basketball's strongest conferences.