The City Game

By Matthew Goodman,

Book cover of The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team

Book description

The powerful story of a college basketball team who carried an era’s brightest hopes—racial harmony, social mobility, and the triumph of the underdog—but whose success was soon followed by a shocking downfall

“A masterpiece of American storytelling.”—Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Devil in the Grove

NAMED ONE OF THE…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The City Game as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Tragically, in 1951, players on the City College basketball team – Jews and African Americans – were caught up in a point-shaving scandal that rocked the city and the Jewish community.

Goodman tells this sad story comprehensively and unsparingly, and took me back into the neighborhoods where these athletes grew up and detailed how organized crime figures seduced them. He also notes importantly how this corruption of basketball which was then seen as a “Jewish sport” fed antisemitic attitudes against Jews.

Tragically, in 1951, players on the City College basketball team – Jews and African Americans – were caught up in a point-shaving scandal that rocked the city and the Jewish community.

Goodman tells this sad story comprehensively and unsparingly, and took me back into the neighborhoods where these athletes grew up and detailed how organized crime figures seduced them. He also notes importantly how this corruption of basketball which was then seen as a “Jewish sport” fed antisemitic attitudes against Jews.

From Jeffrey's list on American Jews and sports.

A gripping, fascinating story by Matthew Goodman of the 1949-1950 City College of New York Men's basketball team, the only team in history to win both the NCAA and NIT tournaments in the same season (teams have long since been barred from competing in both). Led by the legendary coach Nat Holman, the 15-man squad of working-class kids comprised 11 Jews and four African Americans. Goodman weaves a tale of corrupt big-city politics, the extraordinary engine of upward mobility that CCNY was mid-century and the tragic downfall of the team, as several of its star players became implicated in a…

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