I chanced upon this book in my Amazon browsing a while ago and actually finished this book a few weeks ago. Telander, who is now a nationally-renowned author with the likes of Sports Illustrated et al., crafted this seminal work on New York playground hoops during the summer of 1974, a scant few months after he was cut from the Kansas City Chiefs out of college. Tracking a group of regulars (mostly folks in their teens and twenties), a future NBA player in Albert King, and one wunderkind agent/savant named Rodney Parker, Telander's superb prose lends insight into the dynamics of inner city playground hoops.
More than anything, the prose captures the rhythms of the game, the staccato verbal fracases, and the dissonance and disillution that serve as a constant companion of young blacks playing the game in the inner city. Although this book was written in 1974, it could have just as easily been written in 2007. The only difference, sadly, being that there would be more agents on the prowl for meat. In short, this book is to playground hoops, what Friday Night Lights is to Texas high school football - in that while on the surface, it's a book about sports, but in reality, it's a book about life - and the degree that sport acts to both calm, and inflame, the trappings of societal pressure in a place void of hope.