In less than 120 years an activity invented by one man to alleviate winter boredom for a college gym class has evolved into a worldwide multi-billion dollar enterprise. It is impossible for Dr. James Naismith, basketball's inventor, to have envisioned the extent to which his simple game would reach. Without major changes to his original 13 rules, basketball is now played in more than 200 countries by people of all ages. Thanks to basketball, players like Michael Jordan, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal have become some of the most famous people in the world.
The Historical Dictionary of Basketball is a comprehensive account of all forms of basketball—amateur, professional, men's, women's, Olympic, domestic, and international—from its invention in 1891 through the present day. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, an extensive bibliography, and over 600 cross-referenced dictionary entries on the people, places, teams, and terminology of the game.
John Grasso —
John Grasso is an Olympic historian and Treasurer of the International Society of Olympic Historians.
Grasso, John. Historical dictionary of basketball. Scarecrow, 2011. 497p bibl afp (Historical dictionaries of sports, 2); ISBN 9780810867635; ISBN 9780810875067 e-book. Reviewed in 2011jun CHOICE.
This dictionary by historian Grasso features over 600 alphabetically ordered entries covering professional, amateur, Olympic, college, and men's and women's basketball, both in the US and abroad. Specific entries discuss players, coaches, teams, leagues, schools, countries, and positions. Entries are short, concise, and heavily cross-referenced. Preceding the entries is a 25-page chronology ranging from 1891, when James Naismith concocted the initial set of basketball rules to help alleviate the winter doldrums, to John Wooden's death in 2010. A 24-page introduction addresses a range of subjects with titles including "Basketball's Beginnings," "The First True Major League," "The Harlem Globetrotters," "Integration, Scandals, and the Near Death of the NBA," "Michael Jordan and the Dream Team," and "Kobe, LeBron, and the Multimillionaires." Following the entries are a dozen appendixes covering topics such as Naismith's original rules, NCAA champions, and inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Completing the volume is a 40-page bibliography that guides readers to source material and features interesting subheadings such as "Playground," "African-American Influence," and "Corruption." Overall, this is a useful quick-and-dirty resource.
Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. -- M. P. Tosko, University of Akron