The Essence of the Game is Deception : Thinking about Basketball by Leonard Koppett
Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 1973. First Edition. Stated. Hardcover. 274 pages ; 22 cm. $7.95 dust jacket with rips and tears around the edges. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Basketball is "a game of run-and-shoot, jump-and-grab, perpetual motion and surrounding hysteria." That's how Leonard Koppett, sports writer for the New York Times, characterizes the sport he knows best. His new book, The Essence of the Game Is Deception: Thinking about Basketball, penetrates the "seamless" play of championship teams and players to analyze the patterns of one of America's most popular sports. Koppett gives the reader a clear, stop-action look at the game itself, including what makes the good shot and the good shooter, how the extraordinary talents of a Bill Russell or a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are blended into unified team play, how such stylists as Jerry West, Walt Frazier and Oscar Robertson display the essence of the game: deception.
Every facet of this exciting game is scrutinized in Koppett's vigorous, thoughtful analysis—the same outlook that made his popular Thinking Man's Guide to Baseball such a direct, informative approach to understanding baseball.
Koppett also examines the people and personalities connected with basketball: the coaches, players, referees, owners, writers, and fans. He opens up the secrets (and the egos) of successful coaches, from the fiery "no bull" flamboyance of Red Auerbach to the "stern father" figure of UCLA's John Wooden. And he casts a sharp, often humorous eye over the gyrations of the referees, the operatic delivery of stadium announcers ("Basket by Cooooozee"), the misadventures of teams on the road, and the enthusiasm of rooters, bettors, and fans. Personal sketches of George Mikan, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, and other basketball greats highlight this informal guide which comes to a rousing finish with the author's account of his favorite "Ten Memorable Games."
Leonard Koppett was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1923, and came to New York with his parents in 1928. His interest in sports originated in Yankee Stadium, which stood one block away from his home. He has written about sports for the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post, and since 1963, the New York Times. His articles have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Penthouse, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post. Mr. Koppett has also written many well-known sports books, including The Thinking Man's Guide to Baseball, 24 Seconds to Shoot, The Mets, Championship N.B.A., and The New York Times Guide to Spectator Sports.
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