Tuesday, 28 August 2012


A reference to the definitive reading list.


'Read To Achieve' feature takes you through the library of some classic reads. Take what you please, just make sure you return for more.

FREEDARKO PRESENTS THE MACROPHENOMENAL PRO ALMANAC, STYLES, STATS & STARS IN TODAY'S GAME: This is the ultimate guide to today's game...if a few years out of date, sorry T-Mac and Gilbert. This is one awesome almanac. A different look at today's game with stats of greater significance, wonderful writing styles that could run on the same dunking line as 'SLAM' magazine and incredible, fitting illustrations that illuminate this read. With classic chapters about cult players and a forward by guard Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas himself as a prologue this is bound to be one of the most entertaining basketball reads...ever.

FREEDARKO PRESENTS THE UNDISPUTED GUIDE TO PRO BASKETBALL HISTORY: One good book deserves a sequel. A different but delightful look at the history of roundball, written with passion and compassion and illustrated with style and substance. Pure poetry and art comes out of every page. This book is full of tidbits and great tales that you may have not heard. Such as the time after a Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber Nike advert mocked C-Webb's dunk on Charles Barkley, Sir Chuck dropped 57 in a game on both players and backpedaled past their bench and yelled; "put that in a commercial". Need any more advertising for this book?

HOOPS: A big, beautiful photo album that takes you through the history of the National Basketball Association with perfect portraits of everyone from Wilt Chamberlain to Kevin Garnett. This book says a thousand words.

NBA COACHES PLAYBOOK: For coaching candidates and promising purists alike this textbook is the perfect study and revision of all basketball plays from Tex Winter's infamous triangle to Kareem's notorious sky hook. Why? Because they and every other legend of the NBA dry-erase writes these chapters you should constantly go back to for inspiration like Bible verses.

50 AMAZING YEARS IN THE CITY OF ANGELS: Young writers looking for inspiration need this book like those who bleed purple and gold. From the style of legendary Pulitzer prize winner and basketball story-teller Jim Murray to all the definitive articles and portraits of Laker success. This truly is the words of the Los Angeles Times.

WHEN THE GAME WAS OURS: Who better to speak on the rivalry, friendship, force and revolution that was Magic and Bird in the eighties then the men themselves? This dual autobiography really keeps Larry and Johnson together with stories better than what Grandmama could tell you. A slam dunk hit as the two come-together converse like their sneaker deal. This book was shot and assisted perfectly by Hall Of Fame sportswriter Jackie MacMullan.

SHAQ UNCUT: MacMullan also hits recently retired Shaquille O'Neal with a dime for a book that is almost as big and legendary as the mans career. Detailing his higher than the sky highs and his oft-publicised lows from the Magic to Celtics this is THE real account of one of the most unique careers in NBA history. Of course this read wouldn't be the same without some music or cinematic moments or of course the biggest attractions in Miami and Hollywood with the Lakers...and yes Kobe's mentioned. Want more? Then read to achieve.

SHAQ TALKS BACK: This isn't the only time the Big daddy's put big pen to paper. Shaq's first autobiography-written during his L.A. days is funny, frank, insightful and inspirational. The man who can make you laugh and see his point too really has something to say and if that isn't enough his Hollywood nights have some telling tales of everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Robert Downey Jnr.

WEST BY WEST: MY CHARMED, TORMENTED LIFE: Still if you like your legends a little quieter than how about Jerry West? He is one of the greatest Lakers of all time and the logo of the NBA after all. Breaking years of silence and coming off Roland Lazenby's classic 'Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon' West details his best of times and worst of times too. Mr. Clutch talks about winning on the floor and in the boardroom with the Lakers but also talks honestly and humbly about his battles with the devastation of depression and in doing so gives help and hope to those readers that may suffer from the same affliction. What a true professional.

SHOOTING STARS: LeBron James takes it back to the glory days of High School with the 'Friday Night Lights' of Buzz Bussinger and some old Irish. Revealing, real, nostalgic and nice this locker room talk of the high school days just shows this dynasty maker that to know where your going you have to know where you came from.

DRIVE-THE STORY OF MY LIFE: Bird's first autobiography takes the reader from the French Lick to the battles with Magic. The tricks of the Celtics legends trade is told in the pages of a perfect and precise pronouncement. This book plays out like Larry Legend's career, big, bold-at times boastful-but always beautiful. This blue-collar book is anything but hard work.

DRIVEN FROM WITHIN: Michael Jordan and Nike team up for a photo book/quote by quote autobiography that has an air of awe-inspiring influence. It looks great but don't think the style of this success story makes the substance give way. Inspirational and motivational quotes have only been greater in Muhammed Ali's 'The Soul Of A Butterfly' or the letters that make up Martin Luther King's autobiography.

MY LIFE: We picked this book up on from a side street seller in New York for two dollars but in reality it's worth it's weight in millions shipped. Earvin Johnson shows he's got the Magic for writing too with the tales of the tricks of his trade. A book as entertaining, enigmatic, magnificent, moving, inspiring, insightful, influential, and as real as the man himself.

THE ART OF A BEAUTIFUL GAME: Chris Ballard's book of this brilliant game of basketball is a beautiful ballad of sports writing. Every chapter is like a separate sonnet of praise to all the in's and out's and idiosyncrasies of different facets of the workings of legendary players minds and games. From Kobe Bryant's killer instinct to Steve Kerr's shot it's all here and it's never been told or explained better.

THE LAST SEASON-A TEAM IN SEARCH OF A SOUL: Coach Phil Jackson's classic and controversial book about basically the season of Shaq and Kobe's break-up drew rave-reviews and ravenous readers. It's revealing and honest, thorough and forthright as everything is taken to task with a gentleman's class. Sure as Phil and Kobe got back together in the name of two Larry O'Brien's some now render this book insignificant, but this story serves as more than a footnote to the careers of both Bryant and Jackson, plus many more too.

CHARACTER DRIVEN-LIFE, LESSONS & BASKETBALL: Derek Fisher's story extends further then the range of one if the Lakers and the leagues most legendary clutch playing, role-players. His life and times feature more hardship and positive looks towards inspiration than a Jay-Z song sampling 'Annie'. OK, boys and girls this man may have spent his career in the shadow of today's best Kobe, but even the greatest wouldn't have had half the hits without his perfect producer in his corner. Derek Fisher's tale is one that needs to be told. Are you sitting comfortably?

KAREEM: They say he's too closed off, but Cap really opens here. They say he's boring, but Kareem will make you laugh. They say he's dull, but this big-book has colour. They even dared to say he doesn't have a lot of love, but this book has as much heart as it does soul. Arguably the greatest basketball player turned writer gets shows so much personality in his most personal piece of published prose.

THE WINNER FROM WITHIN: From the cover to the preface this book looks like a self-help guide and in a lot of ways it is. Still, Pat Riley's autobiography is as slick, serious and sincere as the legendary coach and man himself. This book will inspire and influence you like no other but it will also tell you all about this one in a million, genuine guy. To hear the story of his whole life within and beyond basketball is to help take you further with yours and learn a little something extra about the game too.

WILT, 1962: One of the most important stories in basketball history told with truth by Gary M. Pomerantz. Different peoples takes and stories help document a moment taking us back to that infamous night in '62 when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single, legendary basketball game and iconic moment in sports history. This game may have never been televised or taped but this biography brings this subject alive for the record. This is fact not fiction. There you have it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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