Photos © Dick Raphael
What the basketball experts are saying about Hoop Lore...
"So many times in sports, and particularly in basketball, the glory days of a bygone era are overlooked or all-together forgotten, relegated to second-class citizenship behind the popularity and magnitude of today’s big-time professional leagues. Kirchberg’s Hoop Lore reverses this tendency, broadening the historical dialogue and tying the NBA to its illustrious past. Along the way, the game’s greatest figures – Naismith, Auerbach, Chamberlain, Bird, Magic, and Michael to name a few – come to life, steering America’s new national pastime to unheard of heights and clearing the path for today’s superstars to carry on the very legacy Hoop Lore explores."
Historian & Archivist,
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
"A solid addition to the collection of works detailing the early history of the NBA."
Historian, National Basketball Association.
"Connie Kirchberg's Hoop Lore is an impressive work. Well researched, yet readable, it covers the history of basketball from a time when it included wire cages and a ball with laces to the current day game and it's high-flying appeal. A must-read for any fan interested in pro basketball's storied history."
President of the Association for Professional Basketball Research &
author of The Compendium of Professional Basketball
Photos © Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com
Imagine a professional basketball league dominated by stationary, two-handed set shots and player salaries of $5,000 a year. Now fast-forward to today’s NBA, where slam dunks are routine and a teenager can collect endorsement fees of $90 million without setting foot on a professional court. Hoop Lore is the story of how we got from there to here.
Although current NBA players are among the most recognizable and wealthy athletes in the world, few people, including the majority of the players themselves, are aware of how it all came to be. In truth, establishing professional basketball was a war. A battle for survival. Only the strong survived, and it took players, owners, coaches, and fans decades of hard work, personal sacrifices, and astute vision to bring it all together. This book explores that struggle, taking the reader on a thorough but fast-paced journey through the history of professional hoops where the sky is—amazingly—no longer the limit.
To suggest the game has evolved since its creation in 1891 would be the equivalent of comparing a 1950s television to today’s high definition plasma or LCD sets; there really is no comparison, either in programming content or picture quality. Still, as with basketball, the basic idea existed to be built upon, improved, changed, and rearranged. When all is said and done, television is still about watching stories unfold on a screen, be they in grainy black and white or glorious, razor sharp color. And basketball is still about putting a ball through a net.
Some would argue that today’s rugged, high wire act that is the NBA bears little resemblance to the early days. They are wrong. Many similarities remain, both in substance and style. Whether or not evolution has improved the game is another question. The answer depends on who you ask, but few would dispute the bottom line: basketball, be it nineteenth or twenty-first century style, remains a passionate game of attitude to all whom embrace it.
Ask a pre-NBA player who drove himself to games in a beat-up jalopy for little more than gas money what he has in common with today’s world renowned stars. Ask a kid playing hoops at a local playground what he has in common with the average NBA player making $5 million a year. Ask his little brother or his girlfriend what they have in common with celebrities sitting courtside at today’s multimillion dollar arenas. All will probably react with a shrug or quizzical look. But give them a minute and they’ll tell you: a racing pulse, sweaty palms…and an indescribable feeling deep in their gut.
It’s basketball, and yes, they really do love this game!
Copyright 2006 by Connie Kirchberg
For general questions regarding the content of Hoop Lore, you may e-mail the author directly at Connie@hooplore.com
Questions pertaining to author interviews or review content should be addressed to the publicist at Kate@hooplore.com
Hoop Lore is available online through most bookstores and sports outlets. You may also order your copy in stores by requesting the title at your local bookstore.
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Or order directly from the publisher at McFarland & Company, Inc.