If you love Basketball, this is the author event for you! We cannot wait to have Massachusetts author, journalist, and commentator Jackie MacMullan in our store alongside New York Times bestselling author Matthew Goodman! They will be in conversation about their two books, Basketball: A Love Story and The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team.
Described as a “powerful and heartbreaking” must-read for hoops fans by Slate, Basketball: A Love Story is the literary counterpart to the ABC/ESPN documentary series that aired in 2018. The filmmakers conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with a staggering number of basketball greats. They talked to hundreds of legendary players, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson. They spoke with renowned coaches, including Phil Jackson and Mike Krzyzewski, as well as numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists.
But when it came time to create the documentary, there was a problem: there was far, far too much great material to fit it all on-screen. It became increasingly clear that to do this story justice would require more than just a documentary—this story cried out for a book. At once a definitive oral history and something far more literary and intimate, this is the never-before-told story of how basketball came to be, and about what it means to those who’ve given their lives to the game.
Hailed as “a marvelous, vibrant recounting of a bit of sports history in which the backdrop of New York dominates” by Booklist in their starred review, The City Game tells the story of a college basketball team who carried an era’s brightest hopes—racial harmony, social mobility, and the triumph of the underdog—but then took the rap for one of the greatest gambling scandals in U.S. history.
The unlikeliest of champions, the 1949-50 City College Beavers were extraordinary by every measure: City College was a tuition-free, merit-based college in Harlem known for its intellectual achievements and political radicalism rather than its athletic prowess. Only two years after Jackie Robinson broke the major league baseball color barrier (and the NBA was still segregated), every single member of the Beavers was either Jewish or African American. Yet this scrappy, come-from-nowhere team thrived in the highly competitive era when college basketball fans dwarfed the numbers that followed the professional teams.
Then, less than a year after winning both the NIT and NCAA basketball tournaments in the same season—still the only team to ever have done so—the team’s starting five were arrested. Charged with colluding with gamblers to shave points, these celebrated young men became symbols of disillusionment and corruption. Their dramatic story is set against the larger backdrop of post-war New York when gangsters controlled the city’s illegal sports gambling, the police were on their payroll, and everyone was getting rich—except the young men actually playing the games. Yet they were the ones who took the fall when the party finally ended.
You do NOT want to miss this opportunity to see these two experts of the game speak about their excellent books. Mark your calendar now!
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.