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Once you give your entire identity over to a sport, the lines that separate the game and real life start to disappear. Basketball was born as a winter diversion for students in a northeastern factory town, invented by the orphaned son of a Scottish lumberjack, and a century later it was a multi-billion dollar global industry. For some, basketball skills are the only way up and out of hardship. For others, the only viable career path in a post-industrial age is to stay in the game, no matter what or where. Basketball always ends in a loss, but you're guaranteed to get lost along the way.
"The Woods" is a new anthology by Kyle Whelliston, creator of the TMM blog in 2004. Its 22 essays explore the ways basketball can help people find their place in the world: freedom from racial and religious disenfranchisement, progress towards gender equality, and personal reinvention overseas. "The Woods" is also about the ways the game will hurt you: making a name for yourself comes at a steep cost, and anyone who plays is condemned to be forgotten—even Michael Jordan. The book features an all-star cast of relevant topics: basketball in the age of COVID-19, complex intersections of hoops and history, and numerous failed attempts to revolutionize and re-conceptualize the sport. Also included is the Epilogue to TMM's Season 16: a survival game in the deep forest where nothing goes quite as planned.
310 pages · 85 photos · 10 videos (EPUB only)