Lost in the Game: A Book About Basketball

Duke Univ. Nov. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781478016175. $84.95. SPORTS
In this collection’s title essay, Beller (English, Tulane Univ.; J. D. Salinger: The Escape Artist) admits to feeling challenged by George Plimpton’s remark “The smaller the ball, the better the writing.” With this collection of basketball essays spanning more than 20 years, Beller demonstrates in clear, effective prose that basketball is just as capable of inspiring great writing as golf and baseball, the small-ball sports Plimpton had in mind. Beller himself was a point guard in college and, in the years since, has deepened his relationship to the game on some of the legendary playgrounds of New York. Throughout essays on the modern NBA and its players—stand out pieces include “Anthony Davis and the Plight of the Modern NBA Big Man,” plus another on the legendary stature of controversial star Latrell Sprewell—the author weaves reflections on high school and college coaches, how his father might have felt about his lifelong love for basketball, and the unspoken rules of pickup game etiquette. This book is stuffed with great writing.
VERDICT An engrossing chronicle of a love affair with basketball. A must-read for all NBA fans.
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