From its early days as a physical, plodding game with franchises parked in outpost towns like Fort Wayne, Moline, and Rochester, to today’s international showcase sport, professional basketball has evolved dramatically over the decades. But the development of the National Basketball Association and its star players was not preordained. There were moments, both obvious and subtle, that steered the direction of the sport, whether it was Bill Russell’s swan song, a near-miss on Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant's All-Star debut at nineteen, a LeBron James legacy game or a deep 3-point-shot by Steph Curry, these moments gradually brought us the NBA we know today—a scrappy league that was jump-started by a 24-second timer and will be defined by the 30,000 3-pointers its players knock down per season. Veteran NBA reporter and editor Sean Deveney will explore the unique characters and backstories of 12 crucial games in the history of the NBA, while putting them into the context of their influence on the direction of the league.
Sean Deveney is an editor at Heavy.com with a focus on the NBA and basketball in general. He has covered the league on a national basis for 20 years and has interviewed stars from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant to LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He is the author of seven nonfiction books, including Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s, Remembering Kobe Bryant, and Facing Michael Jordan.
"What a terrific idea for a book, and Sean Deveney pulls it off splendidly, with an appreciation for the NBA's history and minutiae that any basketball fan will appreciate."
-- Mike Sielski, author of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality
"The History of the NBA in Twelve Games touches on all eras with equal aplomb and insight. Deveney provides a courtside seat to the first game with the 24-second shot clock in 1954, the first tank job before the 1984 draft, the Bulls-Pistons slugfest that wrought 'The Jordan Rules' and LeBron James’s finest hour. These aren’t history’s 'greatest' games but most important ones and you’ll be a smarter basketball fan for reading this hoop treasure."
--Marc Berman, New York Post basketball writer
"As someone who loves basketball history, I was amazed at how much I learned about the NBA and those who make it extraordinary through Sean Deveney's idea of telling about the sport through a dozen seminal games. The surprising choices he made help take us closer to its heart. From Wilt to Kareem to Michael to Steph, all of the essential characters are present, but the stories told are not at all what one might expect. Deveney always has taken a fresh approach to his subjects, but his work here is even more inspired than usual."
--Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News
“In just twelve games, Sean Deveney expertly tells the story of the NBA through the lens of these key moments, both the well-known and the overlooked. Nearly every major trend in the league’s history is explored. From the invention of the shot clock to the rise of the three-pointer, tanking, international stars, player power and dynasties, it’s all here. A must for students of basketball history and fans of the modern game alike.”
--Seth Partnow, Director of Basketball for StatsBomb and author of The Midrange Theory: Basketball’s Evolution in the Age of Analytics
"Sean Deveney’s inventive storytelling creates new perspective and appreciation for the legends of Magic, Larry, Michael, Kobe, LeBron, Steph and so many others — it’s like meeting them for the first time all over again."
—Ian Thomsen, author of The Soul of Basketball
“A filling, 12-course meal that doubles as a living, breathing basketball time capsule. Deveney purposefully bounces from era to era with his writing, but the book’s throughline is unmistakable: seven and a half decades of hoops history distilled down to the handful of guys, games and moments of glory that ultimately shaped the league into what it is today.” —Chris Herring, author of Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks
“Deveney hits nothing but net in this savvy examination of the development of the NBA. . . . [His] love of the game and enthusiastic storytelling make for a captivating chronicle of the league. This is a must for any NBA fan.” --Publishers Weekly