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The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Foreverby John Feinstein
Synopses & Reviews
John Feinstein tells the amazing story about how one moment of aggression changed two lives, the NBA, and how we think about basketball forever. When an on-court fight broke out between the Houston Rockets and the L.A. Lakers, just before Christmas in 1977, Rudy Tomjanovich raced to break it up. He was met by Kermit Washington's first and one of the most ferocious punches ever seen in professional sports. Basketball has never been the same since. Tomjanovich was an all-star for the Rockets, 6 foot 7 inches tall, and white. The punch dislodged his skull from his head and required years of surgeries and therapy to get him back to normal. He was never the same player again. Washington was an average player for the Lakers, 6 foot 8, and one of six athletes in the history of the NCAA to be both an academic all-American and a basketball all-American. By all accounts he was an exemplary man, but the split second in which he threw his arm toward Tomjanovich devastated his reputation. The fact that he is African American hasn't helped his treatment in the press or public opinion. Every team in the NBA has refused to hire him in any coaching capacity. Meanwhile, Tomjanovich is head coach of the two-time world championship Rockets and this year's US Olympic team. With the elegance and humanity that have made John Feinstein one of the most read sportswriters in America, he chronicles the untold stories of what went wrong that night, the drastic response by the NBA, the conspiracy theories about the fight's origins, and the remarkably personal story about how one mistake has haunted two good men for their entire adult lives.
John Feinstein tells the amazing story of one moment of aggression that changed two lives, the NBA and how we think about basketball forever.
With a bone-deep knowledge of basketball, this sportswriter reveals the truth about the cataclysmic event in 1977 between the Houston Rockets and the L.A. Lakers that changed two lives, the NBA, and all of professional sports.
With unerring insight into the deeper truths of professional sports, John Feinstein explores in riveting detail what happened one night in December 1977 when, as a fistfight broke out on the court between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, Kermit Washington delivered a punch that nearly killed All-Star Rudy Tomjanovich. The punch-now legendary in the annals of American sports-radically changed the trajectory of both men's lives and reverberates throughout the National Basketball Association to this day. Feinstein's compelling investigation of this single cataclysmic incident and its after-math casts a light on the NBA's darkest secrets, revealing the true price men pay when they choose a career in sports.
With his unique style and bone-deep knowledge of basketball, the bestselling author of "Hard Courts" tells the story of how one moment of aggression changed two lives, the NBA, and all of professional sports forever. "You'll be glued to the page"--Bruce Fretts, "Entertainment Weekly." 8 photos.
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