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Like My Father Before Me
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We are the not-at-all-famous father-son duo, Michael and Liam Overby. You may know Liam as the third-grader from various youth sports, his Star Theater IMDB resume, or from his ADHD-fueled inability to sit down for more than two seconds. You may know me from seeing me videoing everything. What you may not know about us is we read — a lot. Now, we may not be as eloquent or poetic as my brother Eric (the brilliant mind behind “Note to Self”) or have the journalistic integrity of my brother John (he writes actual news), but we are undoubtedly funnier and exceedingly better looking.

In our new column “Like My Father Before Me,” we are going to recommend some books to you and your family revolving around a weekly theme.

The theme this week is “Basketball.”

This is a no-brainer for us. We are hoop heads — absolute basketball junkies. I love to watch it, learn it, and teach it. Liam is pretty good at playing it. Let’s go!


“Hoops Series,” by WNBA star Elena Delle Donne
8 – 12 Years, 176 pages

Hoops is about Elle, a girl who plays basketball and has to deal with life changes. She is really tall and has to help out with her sister who has special needs. As her life goes on, she improves on her basketball skills.

I like Elle’s character because she plays basketball like me. Elle is a nice and caring person. She goes through life changes just like I do.

Before I read this series I didn’t know that someone would be uncomfortable about how tall they were. I thought it would awesome to be the tallest.

I’d rather read this book over most because I like the way it is so realistic and describes everything that happens. The basketball action in the book is very good. I can see everything that is happening in my head when I read it. Even people that don’t like basketball that much will still like this book because it is about more than basketball. It talks about Elle going to school and the school dance and being at home with her family and dog, too.

Book Pros

    ◦    Girl main character
    ◦    For boys or girls
    ◦    Love her relationship with her special needs sister
    ◦    Elle is very likable, very caring and not selfish

Book Cons

    ◦    Can’t think of none

“Basketball is Jazz.” This is not some inspired philosophical insight from me, but the title of the book I chose by Coach David Thorpe. He has coached from the high school level all the way to personally training NBA and other pro players. Coach Thorpe is a bit of a hero of mine when it comes to teaching basketball to youth. He is known in NBA circles as “The Godfather of Player Development,” and as I fancy myself a player development coach (more like a wannabe), I eat up his writing. I came across his work via NBA podcasts (shouts to Count the Dings).

Coach Thorpe posits that football is akin to military strategy, baseball is math and angles, but basketball is like free-flowing, improvised jazz music. Throughout the book, you can find short chapters detailing stories and lessons learned by a lifetime of coaching hoops, learning from coaches and players, and just consuming the game.

The order in which you read the chapters does not matter. Each one is a self-contained story with its own coaching insights. However, if you read a book out of order on the first read-through, I question your sanity and potentially your humanity. 

The coach, player, and/or parent can all acquire new understanding of the game on multiple levels, ranging from how to hold your hands when the ball is coming your way to how to build relationships with players. I use this book to improve my skills coaching for Liam and other young players.

When I watch someone play basketball, all I think about are their running mechanics, how their hips are positioned before and after a shot, their free throw routine, and all manner of nonsense most people don’t notice. This book has helped me to build upon that talent of recognizing skills that will help a player and how to develop those skills. It has also changed my own basketball worldview, how I think about the game, its players, and myself.

Liam, on the other hand (we read sections of the book together), learns to never be satisfied with his current level of play and knowing that, to reach the next level, he must be ever wanting and willing to learn. He knows that the player who thinks they already know everything is stuck right where they are.

Book Pros

    ◦    Top-notch hoops content from a top-notch coach and human
    ◦    Easy to pop in and out of if you don’t have the time to sit and read an entire book
    ◦    Insight for all levels — coach, player, parent, or hoops fan
    ◦    Fresh take on hoops you won’t get from other coaches or writers

Book Cons

    ◦    Nonfiction (gross)
    ◦    Basketball specific — turns out, not everyone likes it
    ◦    No overarching narrative — if you’re looking for one, this ain’t it.

Honorable Mentions

Michael: Basketball (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano

Liam: Can’t think of none

Don’t forget to support your public libraries: Russell County Public Library and Adair County Public Library! (Editor’s Note: This week’s book recommendations were not available at either local library at press time, but make sure to inquire about inter-library loans!)

And remember, “A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever”
    ⁃    Fortune cookie fortune

Downey Eye Clinic
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