Basketball, unlike its counterparts in baseball and even football, hockey and tennis to a lesser extent, does not respect and revere its rich history. Too many "fans" today think the game started with Larry, Michael, Magic and Shaq. But the truth is, without mostly forgotten basketball men like Mikan, Luisetti, Holman, Lambert, Meanwell and many others, there would be no game as we know it today. Peter Bjarkman's Biographical History of Basketball sets out to rectify this oversight with over 500 incisive portraits of basketball's well-known and more importantly, lesser-known significant contributors to the game's history. Included is also an insightful look into why the game has become the national pastime, at least for the under-35 set, by examining basketball's one on one aspects. Its ability to have a single player affect the action more than in other team sports, as well as our society's increasing need to make heroes out of individuals in these often confusing, leader-less times, has made the game even more appealing. Most of the book's importance lies in its homage to the forgotten, underappreciated past of hoops as it recounts A-to-Z the overlooked men (and women) of the game from Bevo Francis to Dave Zinkoff. But it also traces the game's roots from the early barnstorming era to college basketball's heyday and the evolution of the game from "hardwood to hangtime." The Biographical History of Basketball is a lively, fun and informative look into how the game has moved from a loosely organized, dimly-lit past to status as perhaps the world's most popular sport by one of the nation's most prolific and knowledgable sports writers, Peter Bjarkman. — One Reviewer posting on

The Biographical History of Basketball gives readers a much-needed antidote to basketball's historical amnesia. Author Peter C. Bjarkman presents entertaining and fact-filled career summaries of the sport's greatest players, its groundbreaking coaches and administrators, and its other often-forgotten and less-publicized figures who authored developments crucial to basketball's century-long evolution. While baseball buffs can cite chapter and verse for the diamond sport's most memorable events and personages, basketball fans often have little collective memory of the game's past milestones and heroes, especially those from the nine decades preceding Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The Biographical History of Basketball sends readers on a nostalgic trip through the entire 100-year span of hoops history with personal portraits and little-known facts about the 500 most significant on- and off-court personalities of the game's past and present.

Detailing the feats of the men and women who are responsible for elevating basketball to its current status as the new American national pastime, Bjarkman gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of some of the game's most prominent figures—past and present—including pioneers like James Naismith, Phog Allen, and Doc Meanwell; on-court innovators Hank Luisetti, George Mikan and Bob Cousy; legendary Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, and Red Auerbach; and modern-era idols Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Bobby Knight and Grant Hill. Aficionados of both the collegiate and professional games will be especially interested in this book's two introductory chapters condensing a century of NCAA history and half-century of NBA annals. And a special treat is the Epilogue's surprising and unconventional argument for Oscar Robertson as the sport's best on-court performer ever.

"There is simply no other basketball book out there that provides the same historical richness. Engaging portraits of hundreds of the sport's historical figures are supplemented by concise histories of both college and pro ball and a most useful historical timeline. And the Epilogue arguing for reassessment of the 'greatest player of all-time' is a must read." — Anonymous reviewer,


HOOPLA: A Century of College Basketball. Contemporary Books (Masters Press), 1998 (Paperback) and HOOPLA: A Century of College Basketball, 1896-1996
Masters Press, 1996 (Hard Cover)

"This is indeed the definitive book on college basketball, replacing the now-dated All the Moves by Neil Isaacs. Hoopla contains the complete story of college basketball across its first full century, with all the necessary rich historical detail, plus the colorful on-court and sideline figures who have made the game one of the nation's leading sports spectacles. Detailed accounts of important games and vital rule changes flesh out the sport's evolution. A highly valuable and nowhere-else-available year-by-year timeline chronicles all of NCAA basketball's highlight moments. There is also an informative chapter on the evolution of incressingly popular women's college hoops. Perhaps all that is lacking in this attractive book is an index which might have further enhanced an already first-rate effort. This volume is an absolute must read for any dedicated or casual college basketball fan." — Anonymous review on

By virtually any measure, basketball is quickly becoming the nation's favorite sport. More people watch basketball at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels than any other form of athletic competition. Despite increased television exposure of professional basketball, the college game has a firm grip on most hoops fans, as the immense popularity of the "March Madness" NCAA tournament readily attests. Author Peter C. Bjarkman chronicles over 100 years of the college game that has evolved from peach baskets nailed to the wall of the Springfield YMCA into today's slam dunk, in-your-face, trash-talking version of the new American sporting pastime. Hoopla: A Century of College Basketball is a celebration of the game's rich history, covering the all-time greatest players, coaches, unforgettable teams, and memorable moments that have made Naismith's 1891 invention the exciting and wildly popular sport it is today.

ACC—Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball. Masters Press (1996)
From its birth more than four decades ago (1954), the colorful Atlantic Coast Conference has steadfastly remained the centerpiece of the nation's elite college basketball scene. With its memorable star players (Grant Hill, Bob McAdoo, Michael Jordan, Jeff Mullins, Lennie Rosebbluth, Len Chappell, Ralph Sampson, Len Bias, David Thompson, Mark Price, Art Heyman, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner), legendary coaches (Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Vic Bubas, Lefty Driesell, Everett Case, Jim Valvano, Frank McQuire), and national championship teams (North Carolina in 1957, 1982 and 1993; Duke in 1991 and 1992; North carolina State in 1974 and 1983), no conference has consistently maintained a more glorious tradition than the ACC. (from book's back cover text)

Big Ten Basketball. Masters Press (1995)
As it prepares to celebrate its 90th birthday, the Big Ten Conference continues to be one of the strongest as well as one of the most interesting in big-time college basketball. Author Peter C. Bjarkman presents an informative and enjoyable look at the league from its roots as the Western Intercollegiate Conference when Purdue, Iowa, Chicago, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois formed an athletic alliance Dec. 2, 1905. When Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State joined in 1917, the news media began calling the league the "Big Ten." The name caught on and the rest is history. Michigan State later replaced Chicago and the recent addition of Penn State has made the Big ten an even bigger 11. (from book's back cover text)


The Boston Celtics Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC (2002 Revised Edition)

"The great glory days of the Celtics may be a thing of the past, but Bjarkman's opus reminds us in words and pictures of what once was. From its opening chapter on the Celtic Mystique through The Russell Era ... the book is loaded with the kind of information basketball fans will savor." — Reviewer Harvey Frommer on (April 9, 2000)

The most comprehensive book ever written on the history of the NBA's most storied franchise, the Boston Celtics Encyclopedia should be included in every sports fan's library. Written in a unique, easy-to-read style, this Celtics Encyclopedia brings to life the exploits of such Boston legends as Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, Kevin McHale, John Havlicek, and Bob Cousy. In addition to individual profiles, there are also detailed sketches capturing all sixteen of the Celtics' world championships. All the stories, all the trivia, all the statistics — there isn't much of anything left out of this unique book.

Slam Dunk Superstars. Random House (Crescent Books, 1994)
Wydawnictwo Ryszard Kluszczynski Limited (Polish Edition, 1995)
Attractive coffetable volume profiling more than a dozen "high flyers" and "sensational jammers" of the early-1990s NBA game. Featured here is an NBA "Who's Who" celebrity list of the 1990s: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Cedric Ceballos, Derrick Coleman, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Horace Grant, Jim Jackson, Larry Johnson, Shawn Kemp, Jerome Kersey, Karl Malone, Harold Miner, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Scottie Pippen, Isaiah Rider, Stanley Roberts, David Robinson, Otis Thorpe, Anthony "Spud" Webb, Chris Webber, and Dominique Wilkins (with Slam Dunk stats and NBA contest winners also featured).

SHAQ: The Making of a Legend. W.H. Smith Books (1994)
He is today's most popular athlete, and his "Shaq Attack" style of slam-dunking play terrorizes the NBA. He is Shaquille O'Neal of the Orlando magic, and he has more than lived up to the hype that heralded his arrival in the NBA in the 1992-93 season. The NBA Rookie of the Year and the first rookie to play in the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1984, Shaq took the league by storm, shattering records (he already holds all major scoring and rebounding records for the Magic) and backboards with big-man aplomb. At 7'1" and 304 pounds he is an imposing figure, whether on the basketball court, in television and press advertisements, music videos, or a Hollywood film (Blue Chips)—yet he tempers his off-court presence with disarming charisma and a sense of humor that has catapilted him into the realm of celebrity almost overnight. (from the book's inside jacket flap)

The History of the NBA. Random House (Crescent Books, 1992) and PML Editions (French Edition, 1994)
With more than 220 full-color and black-and-white photographs, and a comprehensive text, this large format volume is perfect for the basketball fan that wants an overview of the 40-year-saga of the NBA. Beginning with the invention of the game in 1891, the story of the first club teams is told, progressing to the birth of the NBA in 1946. All the major names in basketball history are profiled and the impressive Celtics and Lakers dynasties of the early years are extensively covered. Ending with the modern legacy of such superstars as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, this volume will be treasured by hardcourt-action fans everywhere. (1992 publisher's promotional advertisement)