Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the last book I ever read (Bill Bradley's Life on the Run, excerpt thirteen)

from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:

I sense tonight’s game against the Lakers is over by half-time. We have a 21-point lead. During the third quarter the Lakers make their move, cutting it to 12. We hold and then increase our lead to 18. With six minutes gone in the third quarter, I know we have it.

For the rest of the third quarter, I just watch Frazier. Occasionally he infuriates me when he doesn’t pass the ball as much as I would like, and DeBusschere sometimes, after running six times up the floor without getting a shot, will throw up his arms in anger and shout “pass the god damn ball.” But there is no denying Clyde’s ability. I am on the same court but I’m a spectator. He plays with smooth and effortless grace, as if he were a dancer revealing the beauty of a body in movement. It’s somehow right that he doesn’t sweat much. His build is perfect for basketball: tall, erect, and thin. He can move with deceptive speed. The jumper, its fake, and the drive are his repertoire—he does not have a lot of moves like Monroe. He is classic in his economy of motion, though an occasional behind-the-back dribble shows there is still a flirtation with flamboyance. Holzman says that people should get to see him practice, for that’s where he plays complete basketball. Tonight he’s doing a pretty good job of it in Los Angeles. He shoulder fakes and hits two jumpers; a third time he draws the foul, and follows with a baseline drive and a fade-away, at which several players on the Los Angeles bench shake their heads in awe. The next time downcourt he uses a change of pace dribble that makes the defensive man look ridiculous: Tonight he could make anyone look bad.

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