Hittin’ the Jumper is a nostalgic tale of the key role that the game of basketball has played in the life of an ordinary player—from the alley hoops and playgrounds of his boyhood hometowns in Montana to the hallowed halls of Notre Dame and Harvard, white-shoe law firms, and a variety of urban and suburban courts.
Along the way, the author re-discovers fascinating characters and lost worlds in an appreciation of the gifts that playing the sport for a lifetime can bring.
Several with whom he has shared the court—teammates and opponents—became famous in politics, business, and academia, and a few were former NBA players. Most, however, were not in the headlines.
Their stories are diverse. Some are filled with humor, others are instructive and insightful, particularly in dealing with the challenges of continuing to play as age encroaches, while a few are tragic. All touched the author as they did their fellow hoopsters through the years.
The author’s basketball life has been shaped by the history, traditions, and ethos of the communities where he played, whether it was the local basketball lore or, even more generally, the prevailing culture of a place. These places include the neighborhood of the birth of our country and the site of the birth of the game of basketball itself. The courts in these communities each possess a distinctive character. Some were inspirational because of their historic connections while others simply provided comfort with their familiarity, intimacy, and charm.
Lovers of basketball and the history of sport, of unusual life stories and sentimental journeys, will find this memoir both pleasurable and informative.
Sixth grade championship team, the author holding basketball (courtesy of Joe Furshong and Leo Berry)
"For a reader who is not a basketball fan, the book was a fascinating introduction to the rules and mind-set of an unfamiliar sport…But the book is really a journey through the second half of 20th century America, a kind of testament to the possibilities of being an American. Not to be missed." — Hegelian