Shea Serrano’s Basketball (and Other Things) is a hard book to write about. Much like The Rap Year Book, Serrano’s previous book, Basketball has a definite focus, and if you don’t have at least a slight interest in professional basketball, it probably won’t pull you in like it did for me. At the same time though, this is not some type of statistics heavy diatribe about who the greatest basketball player of all time is, or anything like that—although there are plenty of statistics, and there is some discussion about who the greatest basketball player of all time is.
Instead, this book is full of silly (usually hilarious) insights into the game, what basketball has meant to Serrano (particularly his beloved San Antonio Spurs), playful riffs on basketball and basketball players both real and fictitious, as well as some actual basketball analysis. To give you an example of what we’re talking about, here are a few chapter titles–“Was Kobe Bryant a Dork?” “Who’s in the Disrespectful Dunk Hall of Fame?” “What Attributes Make for the Best Basketball Villain?” “If You Could Dunk on Any One Person, Who Would it Be?”–you get the picture. There were several times when I was reading this book that I laughed out loud and had to read passages to my wife, even though she’s never played a game of basketball in her life and never watched an NBA game.
I’m hardly a die-hard basketball fan. I played recreational leagues for a few years in middle school and watched NBA games occasionally around the same time. However, I loved this book, because it was just plain fun to read. I’ll admit that I did skip some of the statistics that do show up from time to time, because those are there for the real basketball fan, and I was more interested in seeing what Serrano had to say.
The fact is, I haven’t had such a good time reading a book since, well…since I read Serrano’s The Rap Year Book. Like Basketball (and Other Things), The Rap Year Book‘s focus on Hip Hop was a subject I knew only a little about, but it was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down. At the same time, I finished both books with a lot more knowledge on the subject matter, more interest in keeping up to date on these things in the future, and, above all else, I learned a lot more about just how funny a footnote can be! Do yourself a favor and check out Basketball (and Other Things)—or The Rap Year Book—and enjoy reading.
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