Sunday, December 25, 2011

NBA Perspectives

My wife has been having a great time reading Harvey Araton’s When the Garden Was Eden, very much a love letter to the New York Knicks of the 1970s.  I was therefore amused to see that Henry Abbott chose to review this book for tomorrow’s New York Times in conjunction with covering Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron:  One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James.  Raab is from Cleveland, so it is easy to anticipate the nature of this book, although Abbott feels that he may have taken polemic to extremes.  Reading this review on the day of the belated opening of the NBA season, it is hard to avoid thinking about these two books offering takes on what is right with “basketball then” (although Araton’s book is not all about the positive) and what is wrong with “basketball now.”  I fear that, if nothing else, Raab’s bile will sell more books than Araton’s more disciplined account to do justice to history;  but sports fans who used to revel in statistics, past and present, now seem to share our culture’s general scorn for history.

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