Are They Now?
Here’s a quick update on
the turns in the lives of several of the most intriguing personalities
in Big Game, Small World:
The Los Angeles Clippers made former Peoria high-school star and
Duke signee Shaun Livingston their No. 1 pick
in the 2004 NBA Draft and the fourth player chosen overall . .
. Shaun, whom Big Game readers met as a 5’9”,
110-pound seventh-grader, had blossomed into a 6’7”,
186-pound 18-year-old by Draft Day . . . In July 2004 the Toronto
Raptors hired former Pekaes Pruszkow coach Mike McCollow
as their assistant director of players development and director
of video scouting . . . Ivory Coast product Mike Lasme,
the sensation of the 1999 African Championships in Angola, decided
in July 2004 to leave Colorado, where he had sat out the 2003-04
season after transferring from Massachusetts as the Atlantic 10
Newcomer of the Year . . . Citing the financial needs of his family
back in Abidjan, Mike signed a professional contract with Figueira
Ginasio of Portugal’s first division . . . The other star
of the chapter on Africa, irrepressible American talent scout
Rob Orellana, in 2003 left an assistant coaching
position at Cal State-Fullerton to pursue his dream of creating
a basketball academy for promising talent in Africa, South America
and the Caribbean . . . Rob-O’s Arona Basket Sur Academy,
in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands, was featured in Sports
Illustrated’s 2004 series on globalization in sports.
The Paperback: “New and Noteworthy”
The November 23, 2003 issue of The New York Times Book Review
highlights Big Game, Small World as a “New and
The trade paperback retails for $15.95 in the U.S., $23.95 in
Canada. To order, click on one of the links to online booksellers
at right, or contact your local bookstore.
Alert readers will notice that the silhouetted airplane, dropped
in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 (see below), has returned
to the cover.
Top 100 Includes Big Game
The editors of Sports Illustrated include Big Game, Small World
in their list of the Top 100 Sports Books of All Time, published
in SIs Dec. 16, 2002 issue. Big Game checks
in at No. 69, and shares company with such hoops tomes as A
Season on the Brink, Loose Balls, Heaven Is a Playground,
The Breaks of the Game, The City Game, and The
Big Game Makes Best
In their survey of the best books
of 2002, published in the November/December issue, the editors
of Book magazine honor Big Game, Small World as
one of the years finest sports books. Big Game shares
mention with John Feinsteins The Punch, David Winners
Brilliant Orange, and the anthologies Yankees Century
and The Gospel According to ESPN.
the New York Times Book Review, in its December 8 issue,
cites Big Game as a 2002 Notable Book. Its one of
145 non-fiction titles chosen and the lone sports book on the
At the Worlds, the World Gets its Moment
news from the 2002 World Basketball Championship in Indianapolis
wasnt good for the U.S., which lost to Argentina, Yugoslavia
and Spain en route to a sixth-place finish. But the Americans
vanquishers, plus surprising Germany and New Zealand, will forever
point to Indy as a milepost in their development. And Ill
regard the tournament as sounding a clarion call for the American
basketball community to take off its blinders and adopt whats
best in the international game, as people around the world have
been doing for years with the American style.
In Indy, several themes from Big Game, Small World reprised
themselves, but none was more gratifying to me than the performance
by Yugoslavia, with center Vlade Divac and coach Svetislav Pesic.
Each added a World title to the Junior World crown they won together
in Bormio, Italy, 15 years earlier, an achievement featured in
Chapter Seven and in the nine-minute
documentary you can view by clicking here.
If the Yugos benefited from a couple of non-calls at the end of
regulation time in the title game with Argentina, they honored
their victory as a pure basketball triumph: On the podium, not
one of them raised the three-fingered salute.
To read more thoughts on the Worlds, in The Hoop Life columns
I filed from Indy to cnnsi.com, click here.
And Non-Yanks Continue Their Rise at Athens Olympics
The Worlds turned out only to be
the beginning. During the 2004 Olympics and the run-up to those
Games, Italy, Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina all beat another
team of NBA Americans—meaning that, over three summers,
the national teams of six different countries had each vanquished
an all-star team of U.S. pros, each in its own particular way.
For thoughts on the implications of these developments, posted
Global Hoops Vogue Gets
Spotlight on Slate, in NYT
With the Sacramento Kings and their
three non American contributors making noise in the NBA Playoffs,
I addressed the internationalization of hoops in a couple of places:
in Slate.coms The Breakfast Table, which I shared
with NPR commentator and Esquire writer Charlie Pierce
during the week of May 23, 2002 (to read our exchanges, click
and on the op-ed page of the New York Times on May 31,
2002 (to read my piece, International Hoops, click
Basketball Alumni Challenge
Saturday, April 13, 2002, I spoke to more than 100 former Ivy
League basketball players, men and women, who had gathered at
Manhattans Basketball City for the third annual Ivy League
Alumni Basketball Challenge. Before Yale had won the mens
division, and Brown had salted away the womens, former Princeton
star and current Northwestern assistant coach Mitch Henderson
chatted up the author (right) and erstwhile Sports Illustrated
editor Paul Witteman.
Those who have read Big Game, Small World know that Henderson
threw the pass that prodded me to take my trip. Several weeks
after playing for the Princeton Alums, he would suit up in Chicago
as one of the practice players who worked out Yao Ming, the 75"
Chinese center featured in Chapter 17, for the benefit of NBA
For more information about the Ivy League Alumni Basketball Challenge
and similar events, click here.
BGSW Featured on Public Radio
The Public Radio International show The World, coproduced
by the BBC World Service and WGBH in Boston, broadcast a segment
about Big Game, Small World on April 1, 2002. To hear correspondent
Clark Boyds report, click here.
Meanwhile, on March 2, I spoke about the book with host Bill Littlefield
on National Public Radios Only A Game.
listen to archived audio, click here.
Launch Party Raises
Funds for Vanderbilt Y
January 30, 2002, the Vanderbilt YMCA in Manhattan welcomed more
than 100 guests to celebrate the publication of Big Game, Small
World and raise money for a good cause. Warner Books graciously
donated copies, and by the end of the evening attendees had bought
up the entire allotment, thereby raising some $2,500 for the Vanderbilt
Y Scholarship Fund. To view paparazzi shots from the event, click
Game, Fragile World
Game, Small World was already in production on September 11,
2001. Thus the fallout from the events of that day arent
accounted for in the book. But Warner Books did decide to change
the original cover, which is pictured here. And in light of one
theme of the bookthat basketball has the potential to further
international understandingIve given some thought
to the role of the game in a post-9/11 world. To read more, click