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October 26, 1998|EARL GUSTKEY

What: "Values of the Game"

Author: Bill Bradley

Publisher: Artisan

From a distance measured in decades instead of 18-foot jump shots at Madison Square Garden, Bradley takes a look here at the disciplines of the game he played, finding them remarkably similar to those of contemporary basketball.

The former NBA player and U.S. senator writes of selflessness, courage, leadership, responsibility and imagination, and cites examples such as Jerry West, Willis Reed and Elgin Baylor of his day, along with Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman.

In his imagination chapter, for example, he writes of Baylor and Cliff Hagan being the first players to master the art of fending off opponents' blocks with their free hand . . . of Hank Luisetti's pioneering one-handed shot, Joe Fulks' early jump shot and Bob Cousy's behind-the-back passing.

Citing imagination in today's game, he cites the crossover dribble and Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson.

Of courage, he quotes British long-distance runner David Moorcroft: "Once you quit [in a race], you've given yourself an option for the future."

He gets a bit tiresome, at times, as when writing about resilience: "As Bill Russell puts it: 'It's easier to become Number One than it is to stay Number One.' "

And he's preachy on the subject of teamwork: "Your devotion to your teammates, the depth of your sense of belonging, is something like blood kinship, but without its complications."

But on the whole, a good read. Lavishly illustrated.

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