The Book of Basketball (continued…)

13 11 2009

It’s Friday the 13th, which means I should be shutting myself off from all human contact today. I’m a clutz, and we don’t do well on this particular day. Anyway, I’m currently on page 224. That’s 64 pages from where I was Nov. 8, which isn’t terrible. But it’s also not the pace I need to finish a 697-page book by Thanksgiving. I will not give up hope. Just call me Andy Dufresne.

(SPOILER ALERT)

I just finished my favorite part of the book thus far — the 33-question “What If” section. What I enjoy most about Simmons’ take on the NBA is his enthusiasm and creativity to explain different scenarios that could have played out if a trade hadn’t been made, or if a team had selected a different player, or if a guy hadn’t gotten injured. He has an amazing ability to make sense of irrational and unrealistic situations, if that makes sense.

He’s always rapped about the Len Bias situation, and for good reason. Ironically, I finished the Len Bias “What If” just before watching Without Bias, the documentary that’s apart of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. The film was outstanding in a tragic sense. Even though Simmons has written about Bias’ death and its related effect on the Celtics for years, I had never fully understood the events that led to Bias’ death and the resulting effect it had on the NBA, his family and parts of our society. It was perhaps the most symbolic moment of the Cocaine Era in our country (I’m guessing roughly 1974 to 1989).

I won’t go into details on Without Bias for those who haven’t yet seen the documentary, but the way his passing was taken by his friends and family was truly saddening — and real. Filmmaker Kirk Fraser needs to be recognized in some fashion for making a truly great film about a very seminal moment in NBA history and in our country’s dealing with drug-related issues.

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