Friday, October 13, 2017

Shea Serrano’s New Book ‘Basketball (And Other Things)’ Brings a Winning Mix of Hoops-themed Humor

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 12:08 PM

click image ARTURO TORRES/ABRAMS
  • Arturo Torres/Abrams

Just in time for the NBA season, Tejanos Shea Serrano and Arturo Torres are back with another bestseller in their gorgeous new book, Basketball (And Other Things). The title’s origins lie in the duo’s previous hoops-infused effort, an email newsletter delivered via MailChimp that memorably featured Kawhi Leonard erotic fan fiction.

The physical version of Basketball (And Other Things) checks in at 33 chapters, each tackling a hoops-themed question from the serious (“What’s the Most Important NBA Championship?”) to the not so serious (“Was Kobe Bryant a Dork?”). Serrano’s inviting humor is on full display in side-splitting chapters like “Basketball Court,” in which NBA icons Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade argue their legacies in a daytime court TV setting, but it is the snippets of his San Antonio upbringing peppered throughout the book that ring true.

click to enlarge "What's the Order of the First Round of the Fictional Basketball Player Draft?" - ARTURO TORRES/ABRAMS
  • Arturo Torres/Abrams
  • "What's the Order of the First Round of the Fictional Basketball Player Draft?"
Serrano’s earnest remembrances of figures from his Southside past, including Cricket dunking on a goal at Lackland Air Force Base, Matthew with the yellow teeth, and his own Spurs-loving father, will likely connect with fans of the silver and black who grew up with the game. Amazing artwork by Torres adds Jack Kirby-esque crackle to the book, whether depicting Chauncey Billups singing “Dreaming of You” at Selena Karaoke night or capturing Scottie Pippen walking away from an explosion in mid action-hero pose.

For initiated heads, Serrano’s New York Times best-selling The Rap Year Book conjures up memories of Ego Trip’s oft-forgotten Book of Rap Lists. Similarly, Basketball (And Other Things) feels like a spiritual descendant to Free Darko’s Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac and its follow-up The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. This time around, the game changer is clearly Torres, who has confidently come into his own as a dynamic illustrator.

click to enlarge "Whose Your Frankenplayer Made Out Of?" - ARTURO TORRES/ABRAMS
  • Arturo Torres/Abrams
  • "Whose Your Frankenplayer Made Out Of?"
“To a lot of people these aren’t just athletes,” Torres told the Current last year, describing the vision for his work. “They’re superheroes in these kid’s eyes. So I want to have the same feel and the same look.”

Serrano will return to San Antonio in support of Basketball (And Other Things) later this month. Details for what is sure to be a spirited book signing are forthcoming.


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