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Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated…
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Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man

by Bill Russell

Other authors: Taylor Branch

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One of the best sports books I've ever read, which isn't saying much because I don't really read sports books. In a few places, Russell - a five-time MVP and the first black NBA coach - breaks down a, say, ten-second span of action in a basketball game to the millisecond: "I can see he knows I'm going to fade away and try a shot, and I know my teammate will be about three feet behind me to the left, so I fake the shot and pass behind me instead, but he's guessed I'll do that and is ready on that side..." it's kindof mind-blowing, the amount of thinking pro NBA players do. I still don't love basketball, but that's not Bill Russell's fault. This is a really cool book.

Popped into my head last night while watching the Lakers totally embarrass the Celtics. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
One of a serious of great sports autobiographies I've read recently, joining Agassi's Open and Leonard's The Big Fight in giving the reader and fan a thoughtful, introspective look at the challenges and rewards of athletic accomplishment and the role of sports in our society. For me the book served first as an example of the typical hardship and emigration of blacks from the south described in the Warmth of Other Sunds, another great book I read this year that puts the African American emigration into its rightful place in American History. Second, the parts of the book that talk about Russell's mental discipline and process in "figuring out" the game of basketball and pushing himself to play a game that was strategic as well as physically rewarding was a fascinating look into the human mind-body relationship. There is some of this in Sugar Ray and Andre Agassi's books as well. Finally, Russell was mindful about his role in basketball and in society at large and made some decisions--not to pander to fans, not to treat his marriage with respect--that he is very honest about. He is aware today of those things he admires about himself and those things he regrets. A great read for anyone interested in American history, sports history, and the psychology of athletic achievement. ( )
  karenmerguerian | Dec 27, 2011 |
Not a bad starting point for a basketball collection built around biographies of guys with lots of rings. Next on my shopping list: the Robert Horry story!
  wfzimmerman | Jul 1, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russell, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Branch, Taylorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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