The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac (aka, the FreeDarko book) will be released in exactly two weeks, and to stoke your interest they've launched a promotional site today that offers a sneak peek of what you can expect, including excerpted chapters and limited edition prints of the incredible artwork.
You should check out the site now, and when you're done, pre-order the book. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy a week and a half ago, and without exaggeration I'm ready to proclaim it one of the best NBA books you'll ever buy. You may not believe me -- after all, Shoals is a friend and former colleague, and hey look, he even thanked me in the back of the book (my lord was I shocked to see that) -- but I'm dead serious.
So what exactly is this thing? The book features 18 player profiles (yes, including Rasheed Wallace), several other essays, tons of amazing art and diagrams, a hilarious glossary, and a foreword written by Gilbert Arenas. (No, really.) The way I see it, this book is to the NBA as the original Bill James Baseball Abstracts were to baseball -- except instead of distilling the game into concrete, measurable numbers, it's a reminder to step back and appreciate players for their personality, style and other nebulous qualities that make watching games fun. I don't know how else to explain it -- I recommend just reading the excerpts and seeing for yourself.
The blog is known for writing that is challenging, a bit verbose and sometimes intimidating. The book, on the other hand, maintains the same intricacies and tone while being more focused, and dare I say, approachable. Don't take that the wrong way: this isn't "FreeDarko dumbed down" whatsoever; it's just that the change in medium from pixels to dead trees allows for more time and editing, which naturally leads to more polished writing.
You're going to see a lot of posts like this today and in the near future -- FreeDarko as an entity is a giant in the basketball blogosphere, and FreeDarko's individual authors (Shoals, Recluse, DLIC and Silverbird) know a lot of people who'd like to see them succeed. Don't let that jade you into thinking these endorsements are halfhearted. The blogosphere is a meritocracy, and anyone familiar with the scene knows that FreeDarko consistently rates ahead of the curve.
Simply put, if you're a fan of the NBA, this book deserves space on your bookshelf.