Review of “How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius”

The synopsis of this book should be enough to pique the interest of any basketball fan as it did for me.  I expected a good read on the game when picking it up, but this book far exceeded those expectations.  This review really doesn’t do justice to it, so I will just post it here and hopefully it will inspire others to check out this great book by Nick Green. 


“How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius” by Nick Green


Basketball, history

Publish date:

March 2, 2021


272 pages


5 of 5 stars (excellent)


This is a book on basketball that is really like no other one on the market today. Author Nick Green breaks down the sport in its basic areas such as shooting three-point shots, dribbling and free throws.  But he doesn’t stop there – he solicits input from other industries and art forms as varied as ballet, baking and cartography and compares those skills to the skills necessary to perform these basketball skills.  Add in a chapter at the beginning about the early history of the game described in this same manner and you have a terrific book on the sport.

That beginning chapter, in which the tone for the rest of the book is set, is brilliant in its way that it will draw a reader into the early version of the sport the way Dr. James Naismith drew it up and the original rules.  Green injects plenty of humor in this chapter that he liberally sprinkles throughout the book. He will use examples of NBA stars and what they do extremely well such as Steph Curry’s three-point shooting or Chris Paul’s dribbling skills to illustrate why not only are special talents, but how they are analyzed by experts in other, non-basketball areas.  Green doesn’t forget past masters of the game either, such as Marques Haynes for his dribbling skills with the Harlem Globetrotters.  I also liked his references to George Mikan – not only for his career as the first NBA “big man” but also for his use of the three-point line when Mikan was the first commissioner of the ABA and that league’s use of the arc.

What is also impressive is the variety of other industries that Green was able to compare to basketball and how they related to basketball.  Before reading this book, I never would have thought to wonder if Mikhail Baryshnikov, the famous Russian ballerina, would be able to dunk a basketball.  Who knew that making pasta from scratch had skills relatable to dribbling? These are just two of the wonderful skills that Green introduces to the reader that really enhance one’s basketball knowledges and appreciation.  

If a reader follows basketball at all, no matter the interest level or whether high school, college or professional, this book is a must-read.  This review barely scratches the surface of the treasure trove of knowledge that a fan will learn.  This book is, well, a stroke of genius.

I wish to thank Abrams Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:

E-book (Kindle)

Buying Links:

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