SEMI-PRO-AM is the untold true story of a Basketball Reality you never knew existed. A world where NBA All Stars matchup against Footlocker Employees, where FIBA World Champions face High School Wannabes and where the salary of one team’s twelfth man equals that of this team’s entire roster. Faced with a physically torturous and spirit crushing season like no other, fifteen men battle the opposition, each other and themselves to succeed simultaneously against everyone from the Sport’s Bottom Feeders and those who feast at its Highest Table. Eighty one games over a mere eight months in fourteen countries for just one team; this team.
The spotlight of Professional Basketball shines brightest on the chosen few, however once in a lifetime a select few from the humble majority get their twenty four seconds of fame. Semi-Pro-Am follows the reality of fifteen such men forever connected by their shared experience of reaching competitive heights beyond their wildest dreams while simultaneously battling though the juxtaposition of Basketball Backwaters.
When offered a chance, the Manager of London’s biggest Basketball Club laid everything on the line to compete at a level no British team had ever before reached. Craving to sit at the top table with Europe’s most established Clubs as a part of the fledgling Continental Basketball scene, his story is one that will ring true for any underdog that has ever given their all and struggled to be unleashed.
Charged with guiding his team through a torturous eighty game season, The Coach fought an ongoing battle to reach the summit of his Profession. Challenged daily by his Players, the Management and his own temperament, he was forced to handle the pressures of coaching three seasons in one. His plight and struggle to endure will be familiar to anyone who has ever or wants to succeed in this most stimulating of Professions.
Recruited from all walks of life, twelve Players willed their overmatched bodies to compete with the very best in Europe while simultaneously searching for the motivation to retain their domestic title in Basketball’s Basement. Through a sometimes unwinnable schedule often compromising of nine games in five different countries over fifteen nights, their ambition to overcome will motivate everyone who has ever felt the fire of competitive spirit.
Continually overstretched to breaking point and pushing the limits of a collective will, Semi-Pro-Am provides a firsthand insight into the intricate relationships that exists between all levels from Semi Professional to Amateur and the full time Professionals caught in between. A firsthand account of how an ever changing set of incredible circumstances set off a chain reaction with ramifications effecting everyone closest to them. Filled with a heartbreaking realism, at times almost fictional coincidence and the cruel humor that became everyday occurrences when people spend more time with their teammates than their families. Seasoned Veteran Professional Players, Unpaid Interns, Part Time Postmen, Wealthy Businessmen, Amateur High School Drop Outs, Next Generation Coaches and Semi Professional Athletes all play their part.
Semi-Pro-Am continually shifts the spotlight from Center Court to the shadows of Professional Basketball and back again. Connecting Flights to Tour Buses, Locker Rooms to Hotel Rooms, Health Clubs to Night Clubs and Barcelona to Brighton; the reader follows in the footsteps of this once in a lifetime team that became like no other. For the first time, revealing true stories played out by those closest to the game you love; unwrapping secrets that you thought existed but could never before see. Over twelve years in the making, Semi-Pro-Am is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who has a passion for Basketball and a hunger to learn more about the reality of Professional Sport from one of the few people that witnessed it all first-hand.
Not For The Faint Hearted
It throws you into the deep end with a gritty real modern history of basketball in Britain. As a piece of work it is presented like a compartmentalized coaching manual but don’t skip chapters they help layer-cake the book into a satisfying readable journey.
The book is well written. Wilson managed to draw me into where he was and what he was doing, from coach room talks to personal relationships and player diva stomps. This is not for the faint-hearted, it is a brutal account of ups and downs within the top levels of British basketball in the decade before the turn of the century.