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Due to the contractual nature of the Fresh Air Archive, segments must be at least 6 months old to be considered part of the archive. To listen to segments that aired within the last 6 months, please click the blue off-site button to visit the Fresh Air page on NPR.org.
21:30

Remembering NBA legend Bill Russell

Russell, who died July 31, led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA titles. He was also the first Black head coach in the NBA and a civil rights activist. Originally broadcast in 2001.

Obituary
06:03

China On The Court: NBA Meets The 'Brave Dragons.'

A new book follows an American basketball veteran as he coaches a struggling Chinese pro basketball team. Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Yardley has a courtside seat from which to observe China's frantic capitalist expansion and its ambivalent fascination with all things American.

Review
21:28

LeBron James Shoots For The 'Stars'

Basketball player LeBron James has been a star since he was a teenager. Now 24, James looks back on his youth in the memoir Shooting Stars, which he co-wrote with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger.

LeBron James
35:46

Former NBA star Charles Barkley

Former NBA star Charles Barkley. The colorful, outspoken ex-player has a new book, I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It (Random House). Barkley is considered one of the greatest players of the game. He was on 11 All-Star teams, and with Wilt Chamberlain was one of the two players in NBA history with more than 23,000 points, 12,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers, the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets. He is currently a studio analyst for TNT's Inside the NBA.

Former NBA basketball player and TV commentator Charles Barkley
45:04

Novelist Pat Conroy

Novelist Pat Conroy is the author of several books including The Great Santini, and The Prince of Tides which were both made into feature films. Conroy's new book My Losing Season (Doubleday) is a memoir about how playing basketball for the Citadel Military College transformed his life. Conroy was point guard and captain of the Citadel Bulldogs.

Interview
20:08

Boston Celtic Bill Russell

Bill Russell is considered the greatest defensive center in the history of the game. In the 1960s he helped the Celtics on to 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons. He was named the NBAs most valuable player five times. Hes written a new book, Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership From the Twentieth Centurys Greatest Winner

Interview
14:32

Basketball Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Discusses His "Season on the Reservation."

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, talks about his new book, A Season on the Reservation: My Sojourn with the White Mountain Apache (William Morrow and co). In 1998, a member of the Native American tribe, the White Mountain Apaches, asked Abdul-Jabbar to coach the high school boys basketball team on the reservation. A Season on the Reservation tells the story of his time with the team. Since retiring from the NBA in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar has appeared on TV and in films, worked with numerous charitable organizations, and authored 3 other books.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar looks pensive
12:38

Remembering Wilt Chamberlain.

We remember basketball great Wilt Chamberlain who died yesterday at the age of 63 from an apparent heart attack. In 1991 he was interviewed on Fresh Air at the publication of his memoir, "A View From Above." (REBROADCAST from 11/1/91)

Obituary
33:55

Michael Jordan's Impact on Basketball and Culture.

Pulitzer Prize winning author, David Halberstam has turned his attention to Michael Jordan's impact on American culture in his new book "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and The World He Made." (Random House) His other books include: "The Best and the Brightest," "The Powers that Be," "Summer of 49," and "The Amateurs." Halberstam says Jordan is the most popular human being in the world.

Interview
21:37

Gambling and Cheating in Basketball.

Charley Rosen is author of the new novel "Barney Polan's Game" (Seven Stories Press) The book is largely based on the real-life college basketball point-shaving scandal in 1950 and 51. Rosen also wrote a non-fiction account of this in "Scandals of 51: How the Gamblers Almost Killed College Basketball".

Interview
10:46

Pee Wee Kirkland Discusses Street Basketball.

Basketball expert and playground legend Pee Wee Kirkland. Professor at Long Island University and basketball coach in Manhattan, Kirkland wrote the introduction to John Huet's photography book, "Soul of the Game" (Melcher Media/Workman pub.). It's about the impact playground basketball has on the sport. Kirkland also acted in and served as the Technical Basketball Advisor for the 1994 movie "Above the Rim."

Interview
18:02

Hakeem Olajuwon Discusses "Living the Dream."

Center for the Houston Rockets, Hakeem Olajuwon He was born in Nigeria, and came to the United States on a basketball scholarship to attend the University of Houston. He helped the team reach the NCAA Final Four. He's written his memoir, "Living the Dream: My Life and Basketball," (Little, Brown).

Interview
22:53

Basketball Gives Poor City Kids a "Shot"

Writer Darcy Frey, a contributing editor to "Harper's" and "The New York Times Magazine," spent a year at the Abraham Lincoln High School on Coney Island. He followed four young, African American basketball players trying to make it out of the ghetto and into a Division I school. "The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams" is his record of what happened to the dreams of these young men.

Interview

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