With its emphasis on a moment in sports history just prior to my—and I never know how to put this—sports consciousness kicking in, Dream Team is the rare sports book I knew I needed to read. My earliest sports memories are all around 1992—Laettner’s shot, Sanders’ run through the Cowboys, my first Mets game.
As such, I remember the Dream Team being a big deal—we had posters and T-shirts and all—but I didn’t quite realize how big a deal it was for the sport globally. (I was five.)
Perhaps because the chapters are so short and the pace so breezy, McCallum’s book reads more like a survey than an in-depth analysis. There’s a lingering sense that McCallum got caught between two poles here: sticking to the story of the Dream Team specifically and exploring the shifting dynamic of the NBA in the early 1990s—from the league’s 1980s saviors to its 1990s advancers (with one guy specifically in mind). Focusing strictly on the Dream Team would have left out some of McCallum’s better stories about the personalities in here, Barkley especially. Going the other way, though, would have made this a much longer book, and probably a bit more of a slog.
What you get, then, is a pair of brief representative glimpses of each of the players—one focused on ‘92 and the other an “interlude” from McCallum’s 2011 interviews. McCallum knows the players well enough to avoid extrapolating unnecessarily in these short spaces, which is important. He also probably knows more than what he puts in here.
The Dream Team’s dominance is so self-evident, so taken-for-granted, that there isn’t much in the book about what made the team so much fun to watch. There’s John Stockton calling it “basketball poetry,” but there isn’t much showing to back it up. Maybe that’s impossible to do in text. The chapter breaking down the Dream Team scrimmage offers play-by-play and line-by-line trash talk, but it’s still not the same as actually watching the tape.
The Buffalo Bills have finished 6-10 each of the last three seasons. Fortunately, the prolonged sub-mediocrity hasn’t kept all of their fans down. In fact, some of their fans spent the season getting up – way up – by dunking on some unsuspecting fools who made the mistake of coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium (or the Rogers Center).
uploader Noah Harpster’s description:
There are several things we do really well: wings, not win championships and posterize you at the Ralph.
My friend—we’ll call him “Dean”—works at a pet store here in Los Angeles, and recently James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince, has become a somewhat regular customer. Avery has come in two or three times with his dog, and each time Dean has helped him find what he needed, never mentioning that he recognized Avery from TV.
After a few interactions with Avery, Dean answered the phone at the store one day and found it was Avery calling. “This the dude who always helps me?” asked Avery. “It is,” said Dean. Avery then proceeded to tell Dean that his dog would be coming into the shop later that day, but because he was busy, “a friend” was going to bring it in. Dean said cool, and went about his day. A little while later, in came Avery’s dog, accompanied by the friend he’d told Dean about: none other than Joseph Marcell, the man who played Geoffrey the butler on Fresh Prince. Uncle Phil had sent Geoffrey the butler to the pet store for him.
I’m kind of at a crossroads with how to feel about Roberto Bolaño. When I first heard about him toward the end of college and when I read 2666, I was all, “Yep. This is one of those ‘Read everything by him’ authors.’” I don’t quite feel that way now, but I’m not sure if it’s a relative lack of satisfaction with his other works or just the fact that more and more of his stuff keeps getting published, making that “everything” more daunting by the month.
The Third Reich is the fifth Bolaño I’ve read, and the one whose basic details interested me the least. I bought it used and cheap, mainly because it came in a nice case. I’m a sports fan who cares deeply about uniforms and an English major who cares deeply about cover art and presentation.
Maybe it’s my reduced enthusiasm for Bolaño that made The Third Reich surprisingly enjoyable. Bolaño’s prose style can be rugged. For someone who focuses so much of his work on writers, he doesn’t write overwhelmingly well himself (in translation, at least). He’s kind of like Dostoevsky that way, which tells you it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
That style lends itself well to The Third Reich, whose protagonist is only a freelance writer — whose primary topic is war-game strategy, at that. Contrary to the madcap pacing of The Savage Detectives, The Third Reich has a narrower focus, which allows it to let events simmer. The action is eventually permeated by a sense of dread; a novel about one man’s monomaniacal obsession isn’t supposed to propel you forward with quite this much force.