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The Grip Reads: The soul of basketball



TSOB chronicles the 2010-11 NBA season from the perspective of four people from the four most important teams du jour: Kobe’s Lakers, Doc Rivers’ Celtics, LeBron’s Heat -- in the Big 3’s first season -- and Dirk’s Mavericks.

In the wake of The Decision, the book’s author, Ian Thomsen, goes a litttttle hard on LeBron, picturing him as a hopelessly artificial star born of the Internet generation. Though, again, over the top, it serves as a reminder of how villainized LeBron was in the early-2010s. Other areas explored by Thomsen: 


  • Doc’s struggle to reel in Rajon Rondo and the aging Celtics’ quest for relevance in the shadow of the Heat.

  • Kobe’s quest for a three-peat. 

  • LeBron’s bumpy assimilation in Miami, including an anecdote on how he quietly tried to get Erik Spoelstra fired. 

  • Dirk’s final stand and the final moments of his 2011 title run. Remember, as the final seconds of Game 6 were ticking away, we saw Dirk jump over the scorer’s table and head into the locker room? Thomsen takes you inside that intimate moment. 


TSOB is reported and written with the careful precision of a David Halbserstam sports book; Thomsen’s advantage with the under-30 crowd, though, is that these characters are fresh and familiar in the collective sports zeitgeist. The best part: It’s $6 on eBay.


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