The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 17, 2018 - Sports & Recreation - 352 pages
The Soul of Basketball tells the story of an NBA prodigy, his league and their sport in the throes of crisis during the pivotal 2010-11 season. It began with The Decision, that infamous televised moment when uber-star LeBron James revealed that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers – thereby distancing himself from his role model Michael Jordan – to pursue his first championship with his former opponents on the Miami Heat. 

To the great fortune of LeBron, the NBA and basketball itself, the mission didn’t work out as planned. In the cultural tradition of Moneyball and Friday Night Lights, veteran NBA writer Ian Thomsen portrays the NBA as a self-correcting society in which young LeBron is forced to absorb hard truths inflicted by his rivals Kobe Bryant, Doc Rivers and Dirk Nowitzki, in addition to lessons set forth by Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Larry Bird, David Stern, Joey Crawford and many more. 

This is about the making of a champion. Brimming with inside access, The Soul of Basketball tells the inspiring story of LeBron’s loneliest year, insecure and uncertain, when his ultimate foe was an unlikely immigrant who renewed the American game’s ideals. From Miami to Boston, Los Angeles to Dallas, Germany to the NBA’s Manhattan headquarters, the biggest names in basketball are driven by something more valuable than money and fame  – a quest that will pave the way for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and future generations to thrive.

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The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between Lebron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Through an array of profiles, contributor Thomsen insightfully examines the 2010–2011 NBA season, which saw players and coaches negotiating the league’s rise in popularity, massive financial ... Read full review

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This is a great book that tells stories of NBA greats. I only read the limited preview but is was really good.


1 The Bastard
2 The Decision
3 The Game
4 The Tradition
5 The Entrepreneur
6 The AllStar
7 The Trade
8 The Odyssey
11 The Conflict
12 The Twelfth Star
13 The Finals
14 The Sheriff
15 The Triumph
Back Matter
Back Flap
Back Cover

9 The Higher Calling
10 The Immigrant

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About the author (2018)

IAN THOMSEN is a special contributor to and has been writing about sports in America and around the world for three decades on behalf of the Boston Globe, the National Sports Daily, the International Herald Tribune, and Sports Illustrated

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