Hoop – Brian Doyle

Maybe you know this or don’t know this about me but basketball means the world to me. Growing up, I learned so much on the court, from the court, from my coaches, my teammates, all the injuries, and training. It taught me discipline, perseverance, tenacity, love, and resilience. I love everything about the game and I miss it all the time, so when I found this book, I was so excited.

If you’re a baller, you will relate to this book in ways you expected and didn’t. It took me back to my first tryouts, to Varsity games and all the fond memories, full-court press, intense drills, grueling suicide sprints, boiled eggs, my number #3 , basketball summer camps, stretching as a team, popping Tylenol. like it’s candy, boxing out, my last game senior year of high school, intramural and pick-up games in college, and all the little moments I thought I had forgotten.


  1. James Naismith invented basketball as a way to keep Young Men’s Christian Association charges occupied during long Massachusetts winter.
  2. Sometimes not saying anything is way more eloquent than anything you can say.
  3. First tryouts? Be there early to shoot around and look comfortable.
  4. Never boast or gesture after you score. Act like you expected to score.
  5. If someone gives you a great pass and you score, just point at the guy casually. Don’t say anything. Keep moving. Always be moving.
  6. Practice the shots you will actually take in a game so that they are unconscious and easy and normal and your arms and legs and hands are in charge of the shot with your overactive mind dozing in the back seat.
  7. It is in the hours before games, when basketball was loose and free and unaccountable, measured only in units of pleasure. 9. Another thing to love about basketball is that you cannot argue with it; when one player is better than another, they are just better, and that’s that, and you either whimper about it or learn to love it.
  8. When you have sprained your ankle twenty times, you know the instant it happens again, how screwed you are.
  9. Another thing to love about basketball is that you cannot argue with it; when one player is better than another, they are just better, and that’s that, and you either whimper about it or learn to love it.
  10. Sometimes the coolest things of all are the ones that don’t make sense.
  11. The better the player the less he or she said on the court – a rule that seems to me now applies generally to the wider world, in which the greater the accomplishment the less he or she who accomplishes it needs to chat about it.
  12. Boxing out? Position yourself between the opponent and the basket.
  13. You cannot call “Next” and be acknowledged as such, and then go lie in the grass and expect a messenger to come inform you respectfully that sir, your time has come. Be there.
  14. You were frightened by kindness then, thinking it was weakness, and how wrong you were, and still occasionally are.
  15. Try to play well, rather than simply play fast.
  16. No game is ever the same. No play is ever the same. You surprise even yourself. It’s like the game has surprises in it and players haven’t found them all.
  17. Yet another thing I love about basketball was its endless series of silent signs and signals, its codes and languages, its gestures and intimations. If you know, you know.
  18. It sounds odd to say that the happiest I ever was in basketball was after I had lost it for months.
  19. Never give an opponent a break, never play down to an opponent. It’s disrespectful.
  20. It’s an old basketball superstition that you cannot leave a court without someone hitting the last shot, you want to leave the basket with a memory of the ball, or something like that.
  21. I love the grace, humor, creativity, generosity, and simplicity of the game. A game that rewards selflessness and inventiveness and speed and liquidity.
  22. Generosity is the key to all great things.
  23. It’s the little generous tiny subtle gracious huge things that people do for their teammates.
  24. I love that you can be bad at the game but enjoy it immensely.
Nothing was quite so delicious as the thorough soreness in every muscle of your body after playing hard and well the day before - you'd earned that sore.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

Recommend me a book

No horror books, please!!