The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever

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9780316735636: The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever

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.

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Review:

In 1977, Rudy Tomjanovich and Kermit Washington became entwined in a single punch that would change not only their lives, but how professional basketball is played today. Because the punch dislodged Tomjanovich's skull and nearly destroyed both men's careers, the scuffle never settled as a dusty bit of NBA trivia. Instead, it nearly superseded both men's notable achievements. The history of that punch (it could not, by any standards, be considered a fight) and the fate of the two men are the subjects of John Feinstein's The Punch.

In the early days of the NBA, teams had their stars and their "enforcers." Enforcers such as Washington protected star players on the court with their willingness to mix it up. With concise prose, Feinstein reports on this era, following strings of trades, drafts, and personal relationships to their nexus. Those who do not think about basketball on a statistical level may occasionally find themselves lost, but Feinstein, ever conscious of his subject, ties the tangents neatly to the core of the scuffle that led to the infamous punch.

Thorough and thoughtful, Feinstein does not make any excuses, nor does he vilify. He simply traces the web of both men's lives back to their adolescent years when it was not about the NBA, nor the punch, but about the game. Anyone who has ever wondered about these two men, or the history of the NBA, will want to read this book. --Karin Rosman

About the Author:

John Feinstein is the author of several acclaimed and bestselling sports books, including the now legendary A GOOD WALK SPOILED. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland and Shelter Island, New York.

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 210 x 138 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. When a fight broke out between the Houston Rockets the LA Lakers in 1977, All-star Rudy Tomjanovitch raced to break it up. He met Kermit Washington s fist, which delivered 1 of the most ferocious punches ever seen in sport. It deslodged his skull he required years of surgery therapy to get him back to normal but he was never the same. Washington was an average player, 6 8 one of only 6 athletes to be both an Academic all-American a basketball all-American. By all accounts he was an exemplary man but the split-second in which he threw his fist devastated his reputation. No team in the NBA would employ him in any coaching capacity. Tomjanovitch, on the other hand, is a star: head coach of the 2-time world championship Rockets coach of the 2000 Glympic Gold winning team. With his unique insight, style bone-deep knowledge of basketball, John Feinstein finally reveals the truth of that night how it changed basketball forever. Through this one cataclysmicevent he casts light on the NBA s darkest secrets, exploring race, violence how 1 mistake has haunted 2 good men for 25 years. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780316735636

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 210 x 138 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. When a fight broke out between the Houston Rockets the LA Lakers in 1977, All-star Rudy Tomjanovitch raced to break it up. He met Kermit Washington s fist, which delivered 1 of the most ferocious punches ever seen in sport. It deslodged his skull he required years of surgery therapy to get him back to normal but he was never the same. Washington was an average player, 6 8 one of only 6 athletes to be both an Academic all-American a basketball all-American. By all accounts he was an exemplary man but the split-second in which he threw his fist devastated his reputation. No team in the NBA would employ him in any coaching capacity. Tomjanovitch, on the other hand, is a star: head coach of the 2-time world championship Rockets coach of the 2000 Glympic Gold winning team. With his unique insight, style bone-deep knowledge of basketball, John Feinstein finally reveals the truth of that night how it changed basketball forever. Through this one cataclysmicevent he casts light on the NBA s darkest secrets, exploring race, violence how 1 mistake has haunted 2 good men for 25 years. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780316735636

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