Pickup Artists by Lars Anderson
Street Basketball in America (The Haymarket Series)

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The history of blacktop basketball in fast-paced words and pictures. A New York street hustler. A lonely man in a Maryland prison. A confused Native American on a reservation in Idaho. What do they all have in common? They are among the best pickup basketball players in the country. In Pickup Artists, Lars Anderson and Chad Millman tell the complete story of the street game from its mythical past to its glorious present. Using original reporting to examine the evolution of playground basketball, Anderson and Millman are the first journalists to unravel the thickly woven tapestry of the sport’s subculture. Today’s super-hyped, corporate-sponsored tournaments weren’t always the norm. The foundation of the game was laid with sweat in the 1920s and it has grown from a rudimentary sport to a sophisticated exhibition. Basketball is more than macho melodramas acted out in America’s inner cities. It’s a town meeting in the heart of Indiana and symbol of freedom for prisoners in jail. Anderson and Millman tap into the essence of pickup basketball, examining its importance everywhere the game is played. They profile not just legends like Earl Marigault and Joe Hammond, but players like Fred “Spook” Stegman, the man who carries the legacy of being the first to connect the playgrounds with colleges, and Gregory Vaughn, whose tragic death in the 1980s exposed the underground world of drugs in basketball. Forget about the NBA and showtime. Pickup basketball is about basketball on the blacktops, at its most basic level. It’s about the unusual lives of some of the nation’s best players you’ve never heard of. Until now.

About Lars Anderson

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Lars Anderson is a "Sports Illustrated" staff writer and a graduate of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "The All Americans," He lives with his wife in Birmingham, Alabama. "From the Hardcover edition. Chuck Liddell first stepped into the Octagon in 1998 and became the UFCas light-heavyweight champion in 2005, a title he held for two years. An accounting major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he still lives and trains in the SLO. Chad Millman, a deputy editor at "ESPN the Magazine," is the author of "The Detonators" and "The Odds" and coauthor of "Invincible" and "Pickup Artists,
Published June 1, 1998 by Verso Books. 240 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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This first book by a pair of veterans of Sports Illustrated is a highly intelligent look at the colorful world of playground hoops and, with it, the ghettos that support the game.

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Publishers Weekly

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New rules introduced in the 1930s facilitated a style of play that developed on street courts in major cities, especially New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, where playground athletes, many from working-class families, altered the basic nature of the game and laid the groundwork for ...

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