Once you give your entire identity over to a sport, the lines that separate the game and real life start to disappear. Basketball was born as a winter diversion for students in a northeastern factory town, invented by the orphaned son of a Scottish lumberjack, and a century later it was a multi-billion dollar global industry. For some, basketball skills are the only way up and out of hardship. For others, the only viable career path in a post-industrial age is to keep playing, no matter what or where. Basketball always ends in a loss, but you're guaranteed to get lost along the way.
The Woods is a new anthology by Kyle Whelliston, creator of the TMM blog in 2004. Its 22 essays explore the ways basketball can help people find their place in the world: freedom from racial and religious disenfranchisement, progress towards gender equality, and personal reinvention overseas. The Woods is also about the ways that the game will hurt you: making a name for yourself comes at a steep cost, and anyone who plays is condemned to be forgotten—even Michael Jordan. The book features an all-star cast of relevant topics: basketball in the age of COVID-19, complex intersections of hoops and history, and numerous failed attempts to revolutionize and reconceptualize the sport. Also included is the Epilogue to TMM's Season 16: a survival game in the deep forest where nothing goes quite as planned.
The Woods is available right now. It contains remastered, rewritten articles and essays from TMM's Season 16, and never-before-seen content including the 7,000-word Epilogue. Purchase The Woods for one low $9.99 price and receive three digital files: EPUB (most modern e-readers), PDF (desktop and mobile), and AZW3 (Kindle and Fire).
Thank you for your treasured readership during Season 16. The new season begins this fall.