Hard labor The battle that birthed the billion-dollar NBA

Sam Smith, 1948-

Book - 2017

"Oscar Robertson is known as one of the best players in NBA history, a triple-double machine who set the stage for the versatility of today's NBA superstars like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Draymond Green. But The Big O's larger legacy may lie in spearheading the fight for his fellow players' financial equity and free agency, joined by fellow stars John Havlicek, Bill Bradley, Wes Unseld, and more. In Hard Labor, Sam Smith, best-selling basketball scribe emeritus and... author of The Jordan Rules, unearths this incredible and untold fight for players' rights and examines the massive repercussions for the NBA and sports in the United States in the 40 years since. Diving into how "The 14" paved the way for the record-setting paydays for today's NBA players - stars and role players alike - as well as the harsh consequences faced by those involved in the lawsuit against the NBA, Hard Labor is an essential read for both NBA and sports fans alike"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 796.32364/Smith Checked In
Chicago, Illinois : Triumph Books [2017]
Physical Description
xv, 351 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 345-351).
Main Author
Sam Smith, 1948- (author)
  • Back in the day
  • You'll never play again
  • Elgin, Wilt, and Bill
  • Mr. Bradley goes to Washington
  • The "bad" influence of "Pogo" Joe Caldwell
  • Rick Barry vs. the world
  • Bob Cousy can't get those dues
  • The mad Russian warrior poet
  • Camaraderie and a crashing plane
  • The kangaroo kram
  • Spencer Haywood was first
  • The subtle art of Wes Unseld
  • Twyman becomes someone to Stokes
  • The decision
  • Afterword.
Review by Booklist Review

Smith, the best-selling author of the The Jordan Rules (1991), explains how professional basketball players came to earn such astronomical salaries (Steph Curry recently signed a five-year, $200 million-dollar deal). Those salaries didn't drop from the sky like a Curry three-pointer; rather, they were earned by the players who formed a union in the 1960s and by subsequent generations of players who carried the torch. The struggle for pay and benefits had been ongoing through the years but, as Smith reports, was kick-started during the 1964 NBA All-Star game. The game was to be televised nationally (a rarity then), but the players voted to boycott unless the owners agreed to negotiate with the nascent union. They agreed. Still, it's a long way from 1964 to Steph Curry's contract, and Smith capably guides readers through what becomes a kind of history of the NBA as seen through the league's labor movement, with emphasis on the key players who made it happen, both on the court and around the negotiating table, including Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Bill Russell. Smith has another winner: a fascinating story well told.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.