Monday, July 23, 2012

Jack McCallum's "Dream Team"

Jack McCallum is the author of Seven Seconds or Less and was a longtime member of the staff of Sports Illustrated. He has edited the weekly SCORECARD section of the magazine, has written scripts for various SI Sportsman of the Year shows, and is currently a Special Contributor to the magazine and He has won the Curt Gowdy Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Women Sports Foundation Media Award and teaches college journalism.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, and reported the following:
Page 99 turns out to deal with a controversial part of Dream Team—the exclusion from the team of Isiah Thomas, who was a great player but widely disliked by many of his peers. Chosen in his stead was John Stockton, a more button-down player, who was perceived as a “safer” choice.” (Don’t get this wrong: Stockton was a great player, too.)

Anyway, after being snubbed, Thomas went against Stockton in a regular-season game and dominated him. Page 99 begins a description of a rematch when Stockton’s teammate, a physically intimidating player named Karl Malone who was also a Dream Team member, takes it upon himself to almost decapitate Thomas during the game.

In that moment of collision between Malone and Thomas (actually it’s on page 100) is a microcosm of sport—the violence, the animosity between opponents and the concomitant bond between teammates, the leitmotifs of vengeance and retribution. And think of it: Ford Madox Ford never saw an NBA game.
Learn more about the book and author at Jack McCallum's website and blog.

Writers Read: Jack McCallum.

--Marshal Zeringue