Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the last book I ever read (David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, excerpt seven)

from The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam:

Portland was a difficult city for Lionel Hollins. He was shy and he soon went through a divorce. He did not make friends easily outside basketball and yet he did not want to be known primarily as a basketball player, he wanted people to know him as a complete person. But that was hard. Besides, it was cold and rainy during the winter and Hollins, who had grown up in Las Vegas and Arizona, did not like cold weather. In Portland he had to wear Oregon-style clothes, heavy down parkas, thick formless pants. He hated clothes like that; he was slim and elegant and everything about him seemed stylish, his clothes, his manner, his girlfriend. He hated being bundled up like some Eskimo. Why take care of yourself if you were going to look like some blimp, he thought. You might as well eat too much and put on weight and be fat. Still, he made his adjustment and bought a house there and moved his grandmother and several of his cousins in to live with him. But the 1978-79 season had been a difficult one. There had been personal problems, a sister had died of a drug overdose. Then he hurt his knee badly, and it had overnight changed and limited his game. He was afraid to cut, and even more afraid to try a full jump. He could no longer leap and stuff the ball. When he went for an open basket, unlike every other backcourt man in the league, he had been forced, at the last moment, to lay the ball up. That, for a professional basketball player, was terribly threatening. If he could not stuff, was he truly a professional player?

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