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Beschreibung des Verlags
From picking cotton in rural Mississippi to the historic 1968 Olympics to ABA MVP to the battle with the NBA that would go all the way to the Supreme Court and change the league forever, Spencer Haywood's life has been a microcosm of 20th century sports and culture. One of the most dominant big men of his era, Haywood burst onto the international scene with a revelatory performance at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Yet, while his basketball career was just beginning back in that summer of '68, it was only one notable moment in the extraordinary and fateful life of the big man from Silver City, Mississippi. Marc Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated and Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tell the remarkable story of a man who was born into indentured servitude in rural Mississippi, and all of the unbelievable trials, tribulations, successes, failures, and redemptions that followed. Haywood would go on to be the ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, but his triumphs on the court are only part of the legend. His winding journey off the court saw him challenge the NBA's draft-entry rules and win at the Supreme Court level; run in New York City high-fashion circles in the mid-1970s with his then-wife, supermodel Iman; and bottom out with alcohol and drug addiction during the infancy of the Showtime Lakers dynasty. Spears and Washburn explore how Haywood's impact was felt throughout the NBA and in society at large—and still is to this day—culminating in Haywood's inspiring second act as an advocate for current and retired NBA players alike.
This disappointing profile of troubled NBA star Spencer Haywood, who played for the league from 1970 to 1983, reads mostly like an as-told-to autobiography. Haywood was born in 1949 to a widowed sharecropper, and though his talent while in high school made him an NBA-ready wunderkind, a league rule prevented teams from drafting players directly out of high school. After joining the ABA in 1969, Haywood pursued a lawsuit that culminated in a 1971 Supreme Court decision overturning the NBA rule. Haywood's own NBA career, which ran through 1983, was checkered: a cocaine addiction led to his suspension by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980 finals, and he abruptly quit the Washington Bullets (and the NBA) when the team didn't support him taking time off to care for his wife, supermodel Iman, after she was injured in a car accident. Eventually, he served as chairman of the NBA's Retired Players Association and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Haywood's frank personality takes center stage, and he movingly talks about racism on and off court. But when the focus widens from Haywood to the bigger picture of the business and culture of the game, the authors' analysis tends to be shallow. This attempt to put a complex career into context falls short. \n