Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the basketball fanatic who appreciates both quirky prose and knockout graphics? Look no further. “The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac” (Bloomsbury, $23) is your pick and roll. Written by the bloggers from FreeDarko, and designed and illustrated by Jacob Weinstein, the offbeat almanac runs, jumps and shoots through the modern NBA with abandon.
The graphics are sharp, innovative and powerful. The caricatures are dead-on. The authors have put up a rich website with slideshow, including a graphic analyzing the makeup of Kevin Garnett's spinal column (Backbone of a True Soul, slide #9).
Reviewing the book for the New York Times Tommy Craggs writes, "...it is likely the only sports almanac in existence that features a manifesto (“In rejecting the old N.B.A., we seek not to spite our forebears but to silence those who proclaim the league’s decrepitude”); cooks up winkingly abstruse statistics like “cancer effect” (e.g. Stephon Marbury and the Knicks); provides an etymology of the hoop slang “swag” (it derives from “swagger” and was popularized by Arenas when, after sinking a game-winner, he declared, “My swag was phenomenal!”); and name-drops Amiri Baraka, Martin Buber and Chris “Birdman” Andersen." (Thanks to Drawn! for the tipoff.)