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The many facets of basketball in contemporary America-as seen through the game in Indiana, a cradle of the sport-from an award-winning Sports Illustrated writer.
Jon Wertheim hadn't kept up with his high school team until a recent game brought back a tide of memories: the angry sound of the buzzer, the same chiropractor's-dream bleachers, and the sight of Coach McKinney-one of the most accomplished and lauded in the state. But there were differences, too: it was Jay-Z not Mellencamp that blared during warm-ups; the height of the players made them leviathans for a high school game; and flair, flavor, and pure athleticism seemed to be more appreciated than the fundamentals.
Clearly, the forces that have transformed Indiana and America-technology, multiculturalism, commercialization, in a world that is growing smaller and more complex-have a parallel impact on basketball. "Indiana," as a local barber says, "is going hip-hop." How are these elements-the new players of foreign heritage; the emphasis on style at the expense of shooting; the growth of the women's game; the influence of big money everywhere-changing the sport?
Wertheim looks for answers by pointing a wide-angle lens at the many sides of the sport-the high school game, the NBA, and everything in between-to find the state of basketball in the state of basketball. Like H. G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, Darcy Frey's The Last Shot, and John Feinstein's books, Transition Game is a story of heart, hustle, and an enduring game. [via]