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Loose Balls


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About the Author

Terry Pluto is an award-winning sportswriter who writes primarily for The Plain Dealer. He was a sportswriter for the Akron Beacon Journal from 1985-2007. He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and twice been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the nation's top sports columnist for medium-sized newspapers. He is an eight-time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of the Year award and has received more than fifty state and local writing awards. He is the author of twenty-one books, including The Curse of Rocky Colavito, Unguarded, and Loose Balls. He lives in Akron, Ohio.


The ABA was born in 1967 and in nine tumultuous seasons introduced such legendary stars as Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins, George Gervin, and Moses Malone. Pluto, a basketball writer for the Akron Beacon Journal , spins an irreverent history in interview format of the league with the three-point shot, the slam dunk contest, the red, white, and blue ball. The ABA saga includes unsettled finances, ever-changing teams, and constant war with the more established National Basketball Association. As well as the stars, we meet the owners (Earl Foreman, John Y. Brown, and Charles O. Finley), the coaches (Hubie Brown, brother Larry Brown, Bob Bass, and Slick Leonard), the bad boys (Warren Jabali and John Brisker), the characters (Wendell Ladner and Marvin Barnes), and dozens of others. Well-told by participants, this is a history laced with humor from a league filled with fun. A must for any basketball fan and highly recommended for all libraries.-- Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Ala.

Pluto, sports journalist for the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal , coauthored such bestsellers as Forty-Eight Minutes , with Bob Ryan, and Tark , with Jerry Tarkanian. This time, however, he will disappoint his readers. The story of the ABA--which lasted from 1967 to 1976, spawned such stars as Julius Erving and Moses Malone, and originated the three-point shot as well as the annual slam-dunk contest--should be an absorbing one, but it falls victim to Pluto's odd approach. Having interviewed many of the owners, managers, players, officials and commentators involved in the league, he cuts up their comments into short snippets (some only two or three sentences long) and arranges them according to a roughly chronological scenario. The resulting discontinuous, herky-jerky text is difficult to follow. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)

Loose Balls is either the great American novel in oral-history sound bites or the definitive book on the 1970s, or both: sex, drugs, platform shoes, sideburns, slam dunks, midnight franchise shifts, million-dollar deferred-payment player contracts, the three-point shot, Dr. J., Marvin (Bad News) Barnes, LaVerne (Jelly) Tart and Pat Boone (yes, Pat Boone). Pro sports, the way they oughta be. -- Newsweek
ABA veterans say 'you had to be there, ' and now, thanks to this book, we are. -- Steve Gietschier, The Sporting News
I assure you I could not recommend this book more highly. This is one of the funniest sports books of all-time. -- Bob Ryan, The Boston Globe
The best sports book of the year? Loose Balls... -- USA Today

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