The Book of Basketball

The NBA According to The Sports Guy

Publisher: ESPN
Foreword by Malcolm Gladwell
Newly updated with fresh takes on LeBron, Kobe, the Celtics & more*

Bill Simmons, the wildly opinionated and thoroughly entertaining basketball addict known to millions as’s The Sports Guy, has written the definitive book on the past, present, and future of the NBA. From the age-old question of who actually won the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to the one about which team was truly the best of all time, Simmons opens—and then closes, once and for all—every major pro basketball debate. Then he takes it further by completely reevaluating not only how NBA Hall of Fame inductees should be chosen but how the institution must be reshaped from the ground up, the result being the Pyramid: Simmons’s one-of-a-kind five-level shrine to the ninety-six greatest players in the history of pro basketball. And ultimately he takes fans to the heart of it all, as he uses a conversation with one NBA great to uncover that coveted thing: The Secret of Basketball.

Comprehensive, authoritative, controversial, hilarious, and impossible to put down (even for Celtic-haters), The Book of Basketball offers every hardwood fan a courtside seat beside the game’s finest, funniest, and fiercest chronicler.

*Including even more footnotes!


Chapter One


I LEARNED THE secret of basketball while lounging at a topless pool in Las Vegas. As I learned the secret, someone’s bare breasts were staring at me from just eight feet away. The person explaining the secret was a Hall of Famer who once vowed to beat me up and changed his...
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“[A] slam dunk.”—USA Today

“The work of a true fan . . . It might just represent the next phase of sports commentary.”—The Atlantic

“May be one of those literary lollapaloozas that Simmons’s fans must buy.”—The New York Times
“Wildly prolific, ceaselessly witty, harmlessly crass, and generally wise, Simmons has built an everydude empire by triangulating the trashy pop-culture futon talk of Chuck Klosterman and the stats-heavy philosophizing of Malcolm Gladwell.”—The Village Voice
“This is just plain fun. . . . The true NBA fan will dive into this hefty volume and won’t resurface for about a week.”—Booklist (starred review)
“The book flows much like Mr. Simmons’s ESPN columns. . . . Opinion gushes out of him. But he backs it up with equal parts serious research and off-angle observations. . . . He has produced enough provocative arguments to fuel barstool arguments far into the future.”—The Wall Street Journal