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With the length of some of his articles, it was already assumed that The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons would be a behemoth to tackle, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because outside of college text books, there was no way in hell you'd catch me reading a 700-plus page book. But I did, and this is where the no to my previously posed question comes in.
Allow me to attempt to review the book without: A) completely giving the book away and B) falling into a Simmons-like trap of eagerly overwriting.

The game of basketball is not about the individual and his accomplishments. Bill Simmons seeks to prove such (among other topics) to the reader, along the way, providing insight into what basketball truly is about. He does so masterfully by supplying rather entertaining anecdotal information, statistics and observations he's come across while watching ancient game film.

From the intro until the end, footnotes to paragraphs, the comedy is non-stop. Taking shots at Vince Carter, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain, to name a few. The writing style and anecdotal references are classic Simmons, but without as much censorship as readers of his ESPN.com columns are used to. This is a good thing, trust me.
If you're looking for a complete history of NBA basketball, it's not quite that kind of party. While there are deep dives into what makes the NBA what it is today, the flow of this opus isn't one of chronological order. TBOB is broken up into sections, each with something to prove. I won't mention them all, but just point out a couple of my favorites: There's a very interesting portion of TBOB focusing on hypothetical scenarios that would've shaken the foundation of NBA history as we know it today. Any basketball fan is going to enjoy and probably quote (or misquote) info from this section while debating his or her friends on the "coulda beens" and "what ifs" of the NBA (If you're going to read a 700-page book, you might as well put the newly gained knowledge to use). That's not to take away from the ranking of the greatest players and teams of all time, "The Secret", the Wilt vs. Russell comparisons, all of which I enjoyed; the "What If?" game was just one of standout portions of the book in my opinion. Very thought provoking.

While you may not agree with every angle Simmons takes in the book, the stats used to back up his arguments are a hoops junkie's dream. I feel that that the work he puts in doing research is often overshadowed by his writing style and TBOB was no exception. There are truly some eye-popping numbers one wouldn't dare scour the annals of NBA stat books to find on his or her free time.
Revisiting my initial question, no, reading TBOB wasn't the arduous task I feared it would become. All in all, it's a great read for any basketball fan. The stats, the debates and the humor all contribute to give the reader something to appreciate during and when the book finally closes. Upon finishing the book, I felt enlightened on a few subjects, possibly angered by some of the arguments, but most of all entertained.
 
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