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FreeDarko At Powell's Book Reading: Friday Night At 7:30 PM

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Almost two years ago, back in February 2009, Nathaniel Friedman aka Bethlehem Shoals of the basketball blog Free Darko presented from his first book, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac, at Powell's. It was a fun, interactive slideshow and prompted a number of interesting basketball conversations during the question and answer period, the autograph session and the afterparty. Many of you attended and it was awesome to meet you.

Good news! Shoals is back, taking over Powell's this Friday at 7:30 PM to present from his second book, The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball. You are invited and I hope to see you there. 

Much like the first book, the second book pulls out the idiosyncrasies of players, coaches and owners to form biographical sketches that help explain the game's history. This time around, rather than focusing on a certain generation of players, the FD team traces basketball all the way back to its James Naismith roots. The book's essays frolic through the major figures that shaped the on-court product -- Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, etc. -- paying attention to what was going on outside the game historically as well, adding depth to each player's narrative. No stone in left unturned: the pre-NBA professional leagues, the ABA and the modern era are all explored.

The essays are accompanied by all the fabulous trivia and amazing visuals that you expect from the FD team. Once again, some of the graphics -- like a comparison between the NBA pre-shot clock and the English Countryside pre-enclosure -- are so brilliant you could stare at them for 15 minutes. Another jaw-dropper is a two-page spread called "A History of Violence" that visually tracks and interrelates which players got into the most fights after scanning 23,000 AP recaps from 1980 to 2009. Buck Williams is near the top of the list.

Regardless of how many basketball books you've read, you will learn a lot about the game given the angles taken in the essays, the presentation of information visually and the sheer volume of research that went into compiling this history. There's no higher compliment that can be paid to a book about a popular subject. 

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter

PS Mandatory disclosure: Blazersedge received a complimentary review copy of Free Darko's Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball.