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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping and revelatory history of basketball, drawing upon hundreds of hours of interviews with the greatest players, coaches, executives, and journalists in the history of the game.

In an effort to tell the complete story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, acclaimed authors Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew, and Dan Klores have compiled nearly a thousand hours' worth of interviews with a staggering number of basketball greats. They've talked to hundreds of legendary players, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson, and spoken with renowned coaches, including Phil Jackson and Coach K, as well as numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists. Most impressive was the extraordinary quality of the interviews. Again and again, players spoke candidly about secrets and told stories they'd never before discussed on the record.

The audiobook that grew out of those interviews is an extraordinary project and quite possibly the most ambitious basketball work ever made. At once a definitive oral history and something far more literary and intimate, this is the never-before-told story of how basketball came to be and about what it means to those who've given their lives to the game.

Read by James Fouhey, Jim Frangione, Sullivan Jones, Pete Larkin, January LaVoy, and Carol Monda.

©2018 Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew, and Dan Klores (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This is a shadow history of how basketball became the game that it is today - it's all the details you don't know about the all the stuff you always thought you understood. Maybe you think you know everything about Wilt's 100-point game. You don't. Maybe you think you have a grasp on the ABA and the ACC and the complexity of institutional racism and Michael Jordan's secret grudge with George Gervin. You do not. This is not a book for people who just think basketball is OK. This is a book for people who care." (Chuck Klosterman, New York Times best-selling author of I Wear the Black Hat and But What If We're Wrong?)

“The boldface names (Russell, Wilt, West, Jordan, Bird, Magic) and the boldface events (Celtics dynasty, Showtime, Magic's HIV) are all here. But what I appreciate most about A Love Story were the reminiscences about the women's game and especially the accounts of the racial battles fought by the game's pioneers. Jackie and Rafe have done a masterful job of historical hoops excavation.” (Jack McCallum, New York Times best-selling author of Dream Team and Seven Seconds or Less)

“A must-read for hoops fans.... powerful and heartbreaking." (Slate)

“Basketball is developing its own reputation for outstanding writing - as this sterling "love story" about the game from MacMullan and Bartholomew attests.” (Booklist, starred review)  

Featured Article: Slam-Dunk Basketball Listens That Will Take You Courtside


Basketball has produced some of the most incredible athletes, coaches, team rivalries, and championship events in the history of sports. So it’s no surprise that many of these personalities and their stories have been immortalized as audiobooks. In this list, you will find some of the best basketball audiobooks ever. These gripping listens are easily available to anyone who wants to revisit familiar tales of glory or learn more about the history of this beloved sport.

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What listeners say about Basketball

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Underwhelming

This is a book of quotes spliced together. I have high respect for Jackie MacMullan and that is book was disappointing. The narrators were also poor. I didn’t know this until I purchased the book, but it is an oral history which I guess means a book of quotes from people about a topic. There are some stories in the book that are interesting and it is interesting to hear from players and coaches about certain topics but overall I was very disappointed

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American basketball oral story

Full of stars (with Jordan being probably the only top important person who didn't share their thoughts). Insider perspective. Important events, dynasties + quite a lot on woman's game.

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Book for any basketball fan

This book has everything! I learned a ton, it was entertaining, even the narrators were great. Definitely recommend!

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Amazing

Very well edited. Some chapters were hard to stop listening to. The others were still good, they just gave me a chance to rest or do something else.

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5/5 Highly Recommended

A wonderful oral history. A can't miss listen for anyone who loves basketball and its history.

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Good listen

The format of the book is somewhat awkward for an audio book. That's not the fault of the narrators though, they all did a fine job . It never really flows, especially when the quotes are only a few words. I still enjoyed the stories and was glad I listened

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Better TV show than a book

I would have preferred that they just tell the story. Instead, it’s a TV show with lots of super short interviews. As a result, nothing flows. I found the constant breaking up of the story to be quite irritating. Nonetheless, the history of basketball is a great story and there’s a lot of good information in this book.

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Point-Of-View

Hearing the point-of-Views of bball history was very informative and entertaining. A must listen!

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Solid, easy listen for a wide history of hoops

Some of the impressions were a little off putting, while reading quotes, but overall a fun listen.

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Great book.

the story of this sport is so interesting. what the early minority players in this sport went through is heart breaking. this is a true love story for the sport.