A favorite holiday tradition is basketball on Christmas Day, and this year's NBA line-up is enough to satisfy any fan's craving: five games starting at noon and running until well past midnight!
Lucky hoops fans might also find a new book by Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard on their wish lists. The Art of a Beautiful Game is an outstanding "thinking fan's tour of the NBA," with chapter titles like "The Dunk: Why We All Wish We Could Fly" and "Free Throws: Standing in the Loneliest Place in the World."
Ballard also profiles a number of current and recent players, going beyond the cliched questions and really digging into the passion and precision of their games. We see Kobe Bryant in the gym at 5:30 AM the morning after a playoffs game victory...Shane Battier memorizing dozens of plays from each opposing team so he's instantly ready for them...and gather pearls of wisdom from "Dr. Free Throw," a retired podiatrist who holds the world record for consecutive free throws (2,750 at age 71!). It's a slam dunk for basketball fans who want to truly understand the game!