A brilliant, entertaining deconstruction of basketball, drawing on the expertise of board-game creators, magicians, therapists, and more
“Really novel way to approach the game, and pretty unique to basketball.” —Sopan Deb, New York Times
Basketball is the second-most popular sport in the world—an insanely complicated game built on a combination of athleticism, craftiness, rules, intangibles, and superstardom. However, while it’s enjoyable to watch, the real reason it works is because it’s a game of culture, art, and all the things that make us human.
Nick Greene’s How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius deconstructs the sport from top to bottom and then puts it back together again, detailing its intricacies through reporting and dozens of interviews with experts. These experts, however, are a diverse group: wine critics weighing in on LeBron’s ability to delegate on the fly, magicians analyzing Chris Paul’s mystifying dribbling techniques, cartographers breaking down Steph Curry’s deadeye three-point shooting. Every chapter treats basketball to a multidisciplined study that adventures far beyond the lines of the court, examining key elements of the sport from some surprising and revealing angles. There’s a reason it has conquered the world, and every game is a chance to learn about pop culture, fashion, history, science, art, and anything else that bounces our way.
About the Author
Nick Greene is a contributing writer for Slate, prior to which he worked as editor at large at Mental Floss and as web editor at the Village Voice. His work has been published in Vice, Men’s Health, and Chicago Magazine. He lives in Oakland, California.
"Really novel way to approach the game, and pretty unique to basketball."
— Sopan Deb, The New York Times
"A very insightful and engaging new book...The thing with this book that sets it apart is that the experts are not the usual suspects on ESPN, but a soap opera casting director weighing in on the game's most prolific floppers, magicians analyzing Chris Paul's mystifying dribbling techniques, cartographers breaking down Steph Curry's deadeye three-point shooting, and plenty more."
— Brooklyn Digest
“How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius is a rewarding read for anyone who loves the sport. It approaches basketball from a number of unique angles that make it feel new and exciting. It is almost as if one is reading about the game for the first time. Greene has written one of the best basketball books of recent years, one that combines history, reporting, and analysis in a very exciting way. Even the most ardent basketball fans will be invited to rethink well-worn truisms about the game’s development, why it developed the way it did, and what makes it so appealing. By looking at the game of basketball, from its rudimentary beginnings to the way it is played today, Greene helps readers see the game anew.”