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12 surprising things I learned from “The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History”

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(Read caption) This "undisputed guide" looks and reads like a very funky textbook, with no photographs but all sorts of intriguing art, charts, and graphics.

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For those who like sports history packaged in a fresh, unconventional way, The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History is just the ticket.

For starters, the hardcover has no dust jacket, is a very compact 223 pages, and claims to be “undisputed” – whatever that means. Furthermore, it looks and reads like a very funky textbook, with no photographs but all sorts of intriguing art, charts, and graphics (including one on fights between players and another about player weight gain during the 1998-99 lockout). The book also takes more of a thematic approach than a straight-line chronological one.

For example, there’s a subchapter on the National Basketball Association’s statistical explosion; another on the league's so-called “lost years” in the 1970s when fans turned away from the NBA product; and still others on Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson.

The book is the work of a creative team conjoined by a fantasy-league message board. They first published “The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac” in 2008. The 12 team members call themselves a “collective of like-minded NBA writers and artists” who contribute to the offbeat Freedarko basketball blog.

Their latest work doesn’t claim to be exhaustive, but it hits all the major historical points and developments while sticking to their core commitment to cover whatever they found “particularly memorable.”

Here are a dozen things I learned from this novel basketball history:

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