Excerpt: 'Hoops: Four Decades of the Pro Game'

"I've always had an eye for the photos of Walter Iooss, and that's what drew me to these forty years' worth of his hoop dreams," writes senior correspondent Ketzel Levine in recommending Hoops of photography for giving this season.

Wilt Chamberlain: Boston, 1967

Wilt Chamberlain: Boston, 1967 Walter Iooss, Jr. hide caption

toggle caption Walter Iooss, Jr.

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Get more picks from NPR senior correspondent Ketzel Levine.


Whether you play, coach, have season tickets, or simply pause a moment to peer through a chain-link fence to watch six sweaty fools play three-on-three, there's something about a meaningful relationship with the game of basketball that is innately ennobling. Hoops, as Phil Jackson points out, played "the right way," can be a sacred thing. And to basketball nuts, what we used to call a "hoops junkie," is an opportunity to partake of that sacredness...

Basketball is a game of transition, or to use a more spiritual term, transformation. The ethos of b'ball is change, the ability to reorder priorities, to morph from one paradigm to another on a dime...

The pictures in this book are a testament to the changing game, a tribute to the men who made it happen... No American sport has reflected our rapid, often convulsive societal shifts — or the wild swings of the popular culture — like pro basketball...

And so in these photos you will see a subtle narrative of social change... these shots reveal the changing state of celebrity in American sport.

— Mark Jacobson

From Hoops: Four Decades of the Pro Game by Mark Jacobson with photographs by Walter Iooss, Jr. Photos and text reproduced with permission from the publisher.

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4 Decades Of The Pro Game

by Walter Iooss and Mark Jacobson

Hardcover, 1 v. (unpaged) |


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