Money Players: Days and Nights Inside the New NBA
The New NBA is the hottest game in town, a showcase for big men and bigger money. But the real games have always taken place off the court, hidden from public view — until now. Three of America's top sports journalists have teamed up to produce the definitive work on the New NBA, exposing a sport threatened by crisis and scandal.
Picking up where David Halberstam's Breaks of the Game left off, Money Players combines meticulous reporting and superb writing to create a fascinating behind-the-scenes portrait of the NBA. While revealing the often troubling truth about the controversies that plague the league, the authors also take an unflinching look at David Stern, whose billion-dollar success story is now dangerously at odds with the increasingly reckless superstars it created.
Against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1995-96 season, the New NBA comes into focus through the innocent but typically myopic eyes of No. 1 draft pick Joe Smith. Follow him as he enters a world of engaging characters and oversized egos — a world rife with racial conflict, drug abuse, and gambling. For the first time, Money Players tells the complete stories behind:
How Detroit Pistons superstar Isiah Thomas was said to be heavily in debt from dice games, raising questions about the depth of his ties to a sports betting ring involving organized crime figures
The murder of Michael Jordan's father, the superstar's retirement and triumphant return, and his high-stakes gambling with shady characters
The vulnerability of NBA players to the forces of organized crime
The entrenched racism in the NBA; the power of agents over players and entire franchises; a new generation of players on the edge; a much more.
At the core of it all is a riveting profile of Commissioner Stern, the master showman whose extraordinary vision and intellect turned a dying sport — viewed in the early 1980s as too black and drug-infested — into a case study worthy of Harvard Business School. But the authors reveal that what Stern has achieved through marketing genius is at risk because of the failure of the NBA to deal with its most serious problems.
Thoroughly documented and unflinchingly honest, Money Players ventures where NBA investigators dare not go. The result is both a myth-shattering exposé and a landmark in the chronicle of professional sports.