Loose Balls by Terry Pluto

Loose Balls

The American Basketball Association (1967-1976) gave birth to Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Bob Costas, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs, the Slam Dunk contest, flashy moves, and the three-point basket. During its nine seasons, the ABA generated scorn and laughter--and made a lasting impact on how the game is played. 24 pages of photographs.

Details Loose Balls

TitleLoose Balls
Release DateDec 15th, 1991
PublisherFireside Books
GenreSports and Games, Sports, Basketball, Nonfiction, History

Reviews Loose Balls

  • Benoit Lelièvre
    What makes LOOSE BALLS great is that the ABA is the last great American myth. There is little to no evidence of if any of the stories it engendered are true, but the book lives up to its strange, yet engaging legacy of being both the epitome of what the 1970s were about (afros, free spirited excess, drugs, guns) and the birth of contemporary, fast-flowing basketball.I didn't know the ABA all that well before getting into LOOSE BALLS, but the oral...
  • Barnabas Piper
    If you're a basketball fan this oral history of the ABA is well-worth your time. I never realized how important the ABA was to the current NBA's health and success. The book is equal parts history and and hilarious. It gives first hand accounts of the intricacies and insanity of the ABA. Really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit about how pro basketball in the U.S. got to where it is today.
  • Joseph Stieb
    A mildly entertaining listen about the ABA, a weird pro league that existed from 1967-1976. The ABA gave us some incredible players (Julius Erving, Artis Gilmore, Rick Barry, David Thompson, Moses Malone) and some great innovations (the 3 pointer, a quicker pace of play, the dunk contest, and basically any gimmicky promotional thing ever). It was pretty interesting learning about those guys and events, especially many of the really whacky players...
  • James Lambert
    Warren Jabali deliberately stomped on a dude's head during an ABA game. Also the Spurs held a Dime Beer Night that ended in a riot. These are the things that are sorely missing from modern basketball.
  • Damien Cowger
    Loose Balls is a highly enjoyable account of the wild days of the American Basketball Association. I'm an off and on NBA fan and a long time fan of the game of basketball. I can tell you stats and stories about many NBA players, but until I read this book, I basically knew nothing about this short-lived league other than the fact that it birthed the San Antonio Spurs. The book chronicles the several years in the Seventies that the league burned b...
  • Phil Overeem
    HANDS DOWN THE FUNNIEST BOOK ABOUT PRO BASKETBALL EVER WRITTEN! It helps that it's about the brief, crazed history of the ABA, but the chapter about the St. Louis Spirits (with Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, Fly Williams of Austin Peay, and a first-year sportscaster named Bob Costas) is worth the price of the book alone. Pluto's book on the Cleveland Indians, The Curse of Rocky Colavito, is almost as funny, and ranks with Seasons in Hell: With Billy M...
  • William Chanmugam
    In Loose Balls by Terry Pluto, he goes through anecdotes and stories from players who took part in the American Basketball Association (ABA) to form a collage of knowledge that gives the reader a great narration of the league (the ABA was a competitor of the NBA in the 1970s and added a 3 point line, a multi-colored ball, and generally had more athletic but less coached players). The ABA eventually merged with the NBA in 1976. Anyway, the book st...
  • David
    An intriguing behind the scenes look at the American Basketball Association, but in the introduction chapter Terry Pluto includes the line ... 'True Stories? Who knows?' and you get that sense in this book. Pluto did a great job interviewing a bunch of players/coaches/announcers/owners from the ABA days, but he spills everything out into this book, and I got the sense that little effort was made to back up claims that were made, etc. It is writte...
  • B. R. Reed
    A very enjoyable and informative book on the American Basketball Association, the league that introduced hoops to the red, white & blue basketball, the 3 point shot and "hardship" players. Being a native of Indiana and a big fan of the early Pacers, I never really knew that the ABA was a league in constant turmoil during its nine year existence. Indiana was a reasonably stable franchise during those years. I vividly recall Roger Brown, Bob Netoli...
  • Dale Hansen
    I was aware of the ABA growing up through the basketball cards my older brother collected in the early 1970's. And of course, Dr. J was my first favorite basketball player but that was when he was with the 76ers. At first, I was a little skeptical about reading a book that was essentially an oral history, but was hooked the minute I started to read the book. I couldn't put it down. Who can forget teams with names like the Anaheim Amigos, the Pitt...
  • Tom
    The fascinating story of the short-lived but immortal American Basketball Association. Of course there are stories about Dr. J, and the cult heroes who never had a chance for one reason or another to succeed in the NBA, but it really shines a much-deserved light on those whose success in the ABA justifiably earned them a place in the Basketball Hall Of Fame, such as Roger Brown and Louie Dampier. As the primary source of a league with no national...
  • Brian
    The story of the ABA is a great one - a league that flew by the seat of its pants, had a lot of characters, and was a great innovator. A lot of players like Dr. J and Moses Malone got their start in the ABA. It also introduced the slam dunk contest and the unique red, white, and blue basketball. Pluto essentially takes a huge amount of content from interviews and weaves them into a series of chapters that capture the chronology of the ABA, its te...
  • Cupboard Horsington
    It quickly becomes apparent that an oral history is quite possibly the only way to teach the lessons of the ABA. I an interesting read with a great collection of sources, however it tends to drag on a bit. It could have been 2/3 as long without losing any of the key concepts. Be prepared to have 4 people verify the same story which I understand is important to a historian, but as a casual reader it can become frustrating.
  • Kurt
    I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time. I was feeling a bit of nostalgia lately, so I picked this book up to read. It was a great read with some fantastic insights into the characters that were part of the ABA.
  • Nathan
    Good book about the ABA. I didn't know a lot about the league before reading it, so I enjoyed reading all of the wild stories and crazy things that went on during it's short lifetime. Highly recommended to any basketball fan.
  • Zeke
    I love oral histories as longform articles but don't ever really love them as books, but the material is so good here it works. The ABA sounded insane - both in good and bad ways - and basketball fans will love this book.
  • Matt Savage
    Fun read about the eccentricities of a great basketball league.
  • G Lassner
    A fun book. I was of fan of the ABA and wanted to hear some of the backstory. I had no idea it was as crazy as it was...
  • Jordan Kerkhoff
    Best basketball book I've ever read.
  • Paul Hanson
    Must read for a sports fan who grew up in the 1970's. Pluto covers many angles of this short-lived league. Heroes and one-time events, faces and places are covered. This one is a keeper.
    A verbal history of the ABA, a collection of renegades, castoffs, and small college stars, along with a few big time Hall of Famers (Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, etc.), Loose Balls tells about its attempt to compete, and, eventually, merge with the NBA. Tales of "guaranteed" money pervade the book, as owners struggle to find ways to outbid the NBA for college stars. The ABA modified the way the game is played (three point shots, du...
  • Dave
    EXCELLENT book and an essential read for anyone interested in the game of basketball. Loose Balls tells the story of the nine-year of the American Basketball Association from the late 60's-mid 70s that was created as a competitor to the National Basketball Association, which is of course still around today and thriving. At first the ABA was a gimmick league with no respect, but with time some notoriety was gained with the signings of big names li...
  • Todd Stockslager
    Most sports fans who remember the 70's vaguely remember that Doctor J and Moses Malone had played most of their careers somewhere else before leading the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA championship. That "somewhere else" was the ABA - the home of the 3-point line, the red-white-and-blue ball--and a cast of crazies who really weren't ready for prime time.Pluto conducted extensive interviews, and rather than write them into a single narrative, instea...
  • Kyle
    Loose Balls, by Terry Pluto, was a very informative and highly entertaining book about the American Basketball Association (the ABA; which lasted from 1967 to 1976) and the players, coaches, owners, stories, and legends that made it what it was. I was forced to read this book for a school project as I was out of town the day my group had to submit a book title to the teacher. As I am a football fan and am not particularly interested in basketball...
  • Hezekiah
    The Wild Wild West indeed. The life of the American Basketball Association is rarely discussed and mentioned by those in the NBA however without the ABA, the NBA is not the game that is it today. The nine years that circled the ABA was filled with fast deals, scandals galore, and fights on the court. It was the alternative to the NBA that had no rules and played fast and loose with their players. The concept was developed in secret with people lo...
  • Paulo Glez Ogando
    Three pointers or the Slam Dunk Contest are due to ABA, and we see them like something “normal” in modern pro basketball. Even the stat-taking improved with the NBA, I didn't know that but it was in the ABA when they started to count steals and blocks or separating total rebounds in offensive and defensive rebounds. In a span of only nine years it was a very influential league.They wanted to get a merger with NBA since day one, and this was t...
  • Sebastien
    Organized around varying subjects (St Louis Spirits, Dr J, evolution of the league, "Bad News" Barnes, etc) the story of the ABA is told casually via a collection of interviews. I knew next to nothing about the ABA going into this book, except that Dr J started there, they had a weird ball, and lots of great afros. And lots of drugs. Turns out the ABA was kind of like the NBA, but with your drunk confused uncle running the show. The best part of ...
  • Joelwakefield
    This is definitely a niche read, with the audience tailored to those who were young kids, lying in their basement bedrooms “late” at night (9:00 or so), with a transistor radio hidden beneath their pillow, turned up loud enough so they could hear Utah Stars radio broadcasts but not so loud that their mom would hear it when she came down to check on them. So that’s a pretty niche market indeed. But to those kids, this is a great look back on...
  • Chris Jennings
    This book tickled all of my sports nerd fancies. Oh how little I knew of the marvelous disaster that was the ABA. It was such a huge part of our professional basketball heritage that far too few modern NBA fans appreciate. You may know the 4 ABA teams that jumped to the NBA (Pacers, Nets, Nuggets, Spurs), you may remember the patriotic ball, and that they invented the 3-point shot and Slam Dunk Contest. But there is so much more to this story. Te...
  • Bill
    A good book for a basketball fan, especially one interested in some quirky history of the game (certainly avoid if you're not interested in hoops). Simply stated, this is about the characters, teams and personalities of the ABA, told in the social context of the late-60s/early-70s. Lots of fun - just don't take it too seriously.I took off stars because of some readability issues. The author did an overwhelming amount of research for this book, in...