“Basketball is Jazz: Stories and Lessons from a Basketball Lifer” is David Thorpe’s first book after years spent as an ESPN contributor. He also is a basketball coach and trainer, having worked with dozens of pros at his gym in Florida. Basketball lifer is probably an understatement.
The book is broken up into short chapters that act as different stories. Some are about a coach he worked with, a player he trained or team he helped out. Others contain personal stories of triumph or failure and some are about how to properly shoot a layup. Thorpe covers all of his bases in this format and it leads to the book being easy to read and digest in either large or small chunks.
"Basketball is Jazz" hit home for me, as someone who is a coach and trainer by trade and writer by hobby. There are multiple passages in the book that talk about things that I experience daily. Many times Thorpe gets very personal with his stories and talks about the emotions he felt towards a player or coach that he might have helped. It was almost shocking to read, but I’m so glad Thorpe was able to be so open. I too feel very strongly about my players and fellow coaches, so it was great to see emotions like that talked about in such a “public” setting.
This book really is a love letter to the game of basketball and a testament to having a passion. If someone has never coached the game then it might not resonate with him or her as much as someone who has, but the passion put into this book alone is worth the read to basketball diehards.