Tag Archives: Boston

The Dusty Jumper: A Memoir About Basketball, Adolescence, Anxiety, Identity and NBA Fandom

Hello Good People,

I finally finished editing. I have slowly destroyed my inner perfectionist. Or maybe I just got older. Or both. Words are never finished. Writing is never done. But this book is…at last.

http://www.blurb.com/b/8005459-the-dusty-jumper

The Dusty Jumper is a basketball memoir from a child of the 80s. A collection of tied-together moments from two decades of personal experiences and NBA-related writing. Pieces of a puzzle that concludes with the idea that we are all human. Writing that takes hoops as a centering theme but is really about people and our need to play, cheer, watch, read, and write, and generally connect to something bigger than ourselves.

Good for summer reading. Easy to carry around. Short passages. Basketball. Adolescence. Fandom. Anxiety. Hopefully, you’ll find it mildly humorous and somewhat poetic, though I’m not paid to be a comedian or a poet…(though, usually, comedians and poets are broke).

If you have promotion suggestions, feel free to send any thoughts my way. I’m not a marketing guru, if that wasn’t obvious.

I can tell you the book costs $10, which is less than two pints of gelato, unless they’re on sale.

Happy summer reading,
Jonah

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Al Horford’s Family History: The Strange, Tangled Journey of Tito Horford, Basketball Star (via Washington Post, 1986)

I’ve always enjoyed Al Horford’s game. I’m thrilled that the Celtics signed him to a four-year deal. Boston fans are going to love watching Horford. The team has officially landed in the top tier of the East. I wanted to learn a little more about how Al Horford came to be one of the biggest Latino basketball stars in NBA history. Al’s dad, Tito, was the first Dominican-born player in the NBA. The NCAA recruitment of Tito was a tangled concoction of NCAA lawsuits, false promises, mid-1980’s naivete, with a host of manipulations and bribes. Tito’s journey to play college basketball, and eventually make his way to the NBA was a mess.

Tito’s father (Al’s grandfather) was born in the Bahamas and then moved to a sugar mill town on the coast of the Dominican Republic, where Tito and his six siblings were born. Al’s dad was 6’10” as a 15 year-old. San Pedro do Macoris, a town of about 80,000 in the early 1980’s became known as a hub for young Dominican baseball players headed on a path to the Major Leagues. Tito realized he was too tall to become a pitcher and was introduced to basketball. Various schools, from the University of Houston, to LSU, and eventually University of Miami were involved in recruiting him.

Cultural Context

It’s always interesting to consider the paths that take a family from Point A to Point B to Point C. The Dominican Republic brought the Red Sox franchise back from the depths in Pedro, Manny, and David Ortiz. Twenty years ago, many New Englanders didn’t know the difference between Dominicans and African-Americans. Today, the Dominican flags are everywhere. Pedro changed everything, in that respect. Pedro’s starts brought an unbelievably electric atmosphere to Fenway in 1999, as this Peter Abraham story documents.

Xander Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, and Hanley Ramirez, who is also Dominican, continue that legacy of Caribbean influence. The success of those players in Boston was not coincidental in Horford’s free-agency choice.

Welcome, Al. We can’t wait to see you in green and to create a new chapter in Celtics history.

Here’s the full story of Tito’s NCAA journey to Miami, from the Washington Post, written in 1986. (Collected in the LA Times online archive):

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-12/sports/sp-3119_1_tito-horford

 

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