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The Art of a Beautiful Game
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Chris Ballard sits down with the NBA's most passionate, cerebral players to discover their tricks of the trade and to learn what drives them. He reveals the roots of Kobe Bryant's limitless competitiveness; shadows LeBron James to figure out how he deploys his prodigious talent; and challenges Steve Kerr to a three-point shootout to analyze the mind-set of a pure shooter. Ballard tracks down renowned dunkers to explore the slam's impact on today's game, follows Shane Battier during his extensive pregame preparations, gets pointers from a free-throw shooting guru who once hit 2,750 in a row, and attends an elite NBA training camp to experience the pain that turns a prospect into a pro. Packed with fascinating characters and startling anecdotes, and grounded in the superb writing and the reportage that is the hallmark of "Sports Illustrated, The Art of a Beautiful Game "is an often witty, always insightful look at the men like Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki who devote themselves to this elegant and complicated sport. It's an inside read on the game that will surprise even diehard fans.
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About the Author

Chris Ballard is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated covering the NBA and writing features. He has written profiles of people with offbeat professions for the New York Times Magazine and is the author of Hoops Nation, which was named one of Booklist's Top Ten Sports Books of 1998, and The Butterfly Hunter. He lives in Berkeley,California.

Reviews

" Chris Ballard has written a ten-drum honor song to the intricate blue-collar poetry of NBA basketball. You should always be inspired by an amazing assist, three-pointer, dunk, free throw, or blocked shot, but after reading this book, you should be even more inspired by the years of hard work it took any player to get to that moment. I love this book." -- SHERMAN ALEXIE, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER " Much has been written about the strategies of great basketball coaches. Chris Ballard tells us about the strategies of great basketball players. After reading Ballard's book, you will watch an NBA game differently -- with a new kind of understanding." -- BILL BRADLEY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR " Some chroniclers specialize in breaking down the technical finer points, while others are poets and soul-searchers, explorers of the inner game. Only a precious few do both well, and Chris is at the top of that list, as he shows in "The Art of a Beautiful Game"." -- JACK McCALLUM, WINNER OF THE CURT GOWDY MEDIA AWARD FROM THE NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME " The perfect storm -- great athletes collide with great writing. Sets the literary standard for getting inside the head and heart of greatness." -- LARRY COLTON, AUTHOR OF COUNTING COUP " People love to claim that pro athletes never have anything interesting to say, but that's because they're usually asked stupid, nonessential questions. Yet ask any talented man about the details of his craft and he will inevitably tell you everything you need to know, including who that man truly is. And that's what Chris Ballard has done. This is a basketball book for people who actually care "about basketball"." -- CHUCK KLOSTERMAN, AUTHOR OF "EATING THE DINOSAUR" " The game has needed a smart, witty, cool-eyed deconstruction for decades. Now it's here." -- S. L. PRICE, AUTHOR OF "HEART OF THE GAME"

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