The grand, but not complete, repository of basketball history books well worth reading!
An excellent, and in-depth, look at how Russell and Chamberlain forged the memorable personal rivalry of the early NBA. Also, the Los Angeles Lakers of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor play an interesting B-plot in the book until they link up with Wilt in the climactic showdown of the 1960s when they take on Russell’s Celtics in the 1969 NBA Finals.
Subliminally, this book is the genesis of this blog. This history of pro basketball, not just NBA but pro basketball, is presented in perhaps the freshest and most off-kilter way imaginable. The host of writers are humorous, knowledgeable and insightful. Best of all are the colorful and original pictures throughout like the spectacular one of Wilt Chamberlain as a nuclear weapon.
Aside from remembertheaba.com, this is the go-to source for the history of the ABA. Former players, owners, broadcasters, and general managers recall how wacky, influential, and creative the league was for basketball.
The Compendium of Professional Basketball, Second Edition
by Robert D. Bradley
A mammoth 437-page collection of every professional basketball league (male and female) in North American history. If basketball-reference.com ever blew up, the game results, final standings, and miscellanea of this book would be the basis for our brave new basketball world.
The Breaks of the Game
by David Halberstam
An absolutely fantastic book that uses the late 1970s, early 1980s Portland Trail Blazers as a window into the myriad issues that plagued the NBA. There’s racism, medical mistreatment, the chaos of nascent free agency, on-court brutality, and even a smidgen of camaraderie.
Jerry West: the Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon
by Roland Lazenby
Despite being the logo of the NBA, Jerry West remains an under-appreciated legend. West’s will to win and push his body to the limits of its endurance is sometimes inspiring, other times frightening. Author Roland Lazenby brilliantly weaves on-court and off-court happenings into the narrative so that an actual biography of West is presented, not just a recounting of how games ended.