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FreeDarko Presents The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Buy it ... Now

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If you’ve spent any quality time on the internet over the past few weeks, then there’s a decent chance you’ve seen both bloggers and real writers alike discussing The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. The book is a unique look at today’s NBA through the lens of the game’s biggest stars and oddballs, complimented by masterful illustrations and statistical analyzes you’d never imagined, such as a comparison between Tim Duncan's numbers and the Fibonacci sequence.

↵And it also happens to be co-authored by The Sporting Blog’s own Bethlehem Shoals, along with the rest of the FreeDarko Collaborative. Here’s part of their description of Macrophenomenal: ↵

↵⇥Whereas past sports-literary endeavors have attempted to paint sports as a metaphor for life or life as a metaphor for sport, we depict the National Basketball Association as a universe unlike any that one would encounter in daily existence. The NBA is a sphere in which Indiana farmboys, housing project messiahs, African tribesmen, and escapees from war-torn Eastern Bloc countries, coalesce by the nature of their superhuman physicality. ↵
↵You can read many of the book’s reviews for yourself, or you can just listen to me when I tell you it’s outstanding. And I don't like the NBA. I can’t even watch an entire game, yet I can thoroughly enjoy The Macrophenomenal’s essay on Leandro Barbosa, for example, a player I don’t care about, and honestly, have never had much interest in watching play the game of basketball. Yet this book makes his story, style, and speed interesting to me, the non-fan. And if it speaks to me, it will no doubt speak to the diehards, as well.

↵But I’ll let you form your own judgments. Here are some excerpts from two of the essays. ↵


↵ ↵


↵First, from Tim Duncan: “Mechanical Gothic”: ↵

↵⇥While other players wind-sprint through ↵⇥the season, Duncan marathons, going deep ↵⇥into the playoffs year after year. While his ↵⇥foes throw their hearts and minds into the ↵⇥thick of competition, Duncan stands at a remove, ↵⇥his every action rich with intent. His ↵⇥brain operates with the dull precision of the ↵⇥TI-83 calculator. Can Duncan feel pain? He ↵⇥has faced his share of knee and foot injuries ↵⇥over the years, yet they have slowed him only ↵⇥as an oil leak slows a robot. Does Duncan ↵⇥love? His wife, Amy, a former Wake Forest ↵⇥cheerleader, conveys a forced plastic smile in ↵⇥public appearances, suggesting that not even ↵⇥she knows. Do the concepts of free will or ↵⇥consciousness mean anything to him? If so, ↵⇥he does not experience these capacities as you ↵⇥and I do. Referee Joey Crawford once issued ↵⇥a technical foul to Duncan simply for laughing ↵⇥while on the bench; Crawford more than ↵⇥anything was probably startled at Timmy’s ↵⇥capacity to display human feeling. In his eternal drudgery, Duncan moves forward with a ↵⇥single purpose, as though preprogrammed to ↵⇥achieve the sole end of winning. Cognition, ↵⇥emotion, intention -- all are merely incidental ↵⇥to the goal at hand. ↵
↵And from Gilbert Arenas: “The Court is a Carnival": ↵
↵⇥In spite of his All-Star appearances and ↵⇥playoff heroics, Arenas somehow remains the ↵⇥eternal underdog; he’s one of the league’s most ↵⇥visible young stars, yet hailed mostly as a cult ↵⇥figure. While Arenas exudes humor and glee, ↵⇥his triumphs are pure acid, revenge against a ↵⇥basketball establishment that has continually ↵⇥done him wrong. At this point, his goofball ↵⇥reputation seems like an elaborate, highconcept ↵⇥taunt. The world sees him as a fool, ↵⇥but this fool [messes] up his opponents like he ↵⇥was the baddest man on the planet. Gilbert ↵⇥Arenas knows that people underestimate ↵⇥him; he’ll take advantage of this on the court ↵⇥and in the media, using slights as table settings ↵⇥at what amounts to an endless coming out ↵⇥party. There are streamers on the walls ↵⇥and cake, but about half his guests end up ↵⇥watching from a stretcher. ↵⇥

↵⇥[…] ↵⇥


↵⇥Few moments in his career captured this ↵⇥quality as perfectly as Game 6 of the Wizards’ ↵⇥2006 playoff tangle with the Cleveland ↵⇥Cavaliers. With the Wizards down by three ↵⇥points, facing elimination, and staring at ↵⇥ten seconds left to rescue their season, Arenas ↵⇥nonchalantly dribbled down the court ↵⇥and launched a three from at least five feet ↵⇥behind the line. It was not a quality shot, it ↵⇥left time on the clock, and almost nothing ↵⇥about it made sense. But it sent the game into ↵⇥overtime -- where Arenas, normally an effortless ↵⇥free throw shooter, bricked two key ones ↵⇥that handed the ballgame to the Cavs. For any ↵⇥other baller, this would be an agonizing medley ↵⇥of grace and shame. For Gilbert Arenas, it ↵⇥was just something that happened. ↵⇥

↵Visit the book’s website for much more information, including these excerpted essays in their entirety (legally, we were limited to 500 words in this space*). And visit Amazon, or your local bookstore, to buy your copy -- or one for that special somebody on your holiday list. ↵

↵*Excerpted words by FreeDarko, reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA ↵ ↵


This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.