Basketball and Spirit Animals 

FreeDarko's Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac will do nothing less than change the face of sports journalism as we know it

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The very nature of sports journalism—whether it be the tired medium of out-of-touch middle-aged white guys perched in the press box, or the snarky takedowns of anonymous bloggers—will never be the same after the release of The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today's Game. Or, at the very least, in a perfect world, it should never be the same.

Less a book and more like the shot heard 'round the sports-writing world, Macrophenomenal thrashes against the prevailing tide of sports coverage, in attitude, access, prose, and research. Generated by the baffling assembly of the FreeDarko collective (freedarko.com)—who are to sports what ego trip was to hiphop journalism—Macrophenomenal is penned by the ridiculous aliases of Bethlehem Shoals, Dr. Lawyer IndianChief, Brown Recluse Esq., statistician Silverbird 5000, and illustrator Big Baby Belafonte.

Presented with no more access to the elite of the NBA than your standard sofa-bound fan, the FreeDarko authors break down the players with a perspective that is both thoroughly in depth and "outsider" in its nature. Or, basically, how the hell did they just explain the fragile depth and devoted intricacies of Rasheed Wallace in a manner that is far superior to a decade-plus of wasted sports section column inches?

Their masterful examinations—Kobe Bryant as a miserable perfectionist, complete with a stylish illustration of the Black Mamba sporting a mustard yellow sweater while assembling a ship in a bottle—are all backed by precise statistical analysis. Never dry, the statistical presentations eschew the normal categorical assignments (points, assists, etc.) in favor of far-out numerological-based rationales, like Tracy McGrady's career broken down into four Hinduism Ashrama periods. Not to mention the visual splendor of illustrator Belafonte, whose unique, texturally rich illustrations depict the on-court skills of players via their technical moves and spirit animals. Yes, spirit animals.

For all of those who absolutely love the sport of basketball, but have grown tired of the tired clichés that weigh the game down, then Macrophenomenal is your new bible−proof that if there is any justice in this cruel world, sports writing as we know it is about to change for the better.

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