Falling from Grace: Can Pro Basketball Be Saved?
Terry Pluto. Simon & Schuster, $22.5 (8pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80766-9
When Akron Beacon-Journal sports columnist Pluto (Tall Tales) writes on basketball, attention must be paid, for he combines a knowledge of the game with the cool objectivity of a good reporter. The game, he believes, has changed from one in which such skills as shooting and passing were demanded of all players to one in which athleticism is all that most participants have to offer. And, he adds, there is no incentive for a cager signed to a 10-year, $40 million contract before he plays a single NBA game to learn those skills. The result is a concentration on defense, which, in Pluto's view, has made the game boring except for the increasingly violent confrontations that unknowledgeable fans seem to love. Unlike most sportswriters, the author is not afraid to name names: he blames coaches Chuck Daly and Pat Riley for introducing ``thuggery'' on the court, and he singles out Derrick Coleman and Chris Webber as troublesome individuals. Can the game be saved? Yes, he opines, but not as it was played in the 1970s and '80s, although he offers many suggestions for ways to bring it back in the direction of that golden era. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999