This is an excellent gift, but be sure to check out our full guide for more gift ideas for sports fans.
Product: FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History
What It Is: An essential book that details some of the greatest turning points in the history of the game James Naismith created, written by quite a few of the best basketball writers available and completed with brilliant artwork.
Why It's A Great Gift: Because while the NBA continues to lockout its players and fans, the basketball connoisseur in your life is going to be a bit down during the holidays. Learning more about the game in a fun way from a book that received an excellent review from the New York Times might be just the thing needed to keep away the doldrums until the owners and players come their senses.
Written by the pseudonymous authors of the FreeDarko blog, with a foreword by the N.B.A. oddball Gilbert Arenas, it is likely the only sports almanac in existence that features a manifesto ("In rejecting the old N.B.A., we seek not to spite our forebears but to silence those who proclaim the league's decrepitude"); cooks up winkingly abstruse statistics like "cancer effect" (e.g. Stephon Marbury and the Knicks); provides an etymology of the hoop slang "swag" (it derives from "swagger" and was popularized by Arenas when, after sinking a game-winner, he declared, "My swag was phenomenal!"); and name-drops Amiri Baraka, Martin Buber and Chris "Birdman" Andersen. The book knows its hoops too.
It's verse, perhaps, but in the patience and exactness of its description, prose too. Phenomenal swag.
That review might not make sense to those not in touch with the basketball world, but it's a book everyone should have on their shelf before they can accurately describe themselves as a fan of professional basketball.
Price: $16.50 on Amazon.com.
Where You Can Buy It: It should available at all book stores as well as the above link from Amazon.