Alexander Wolff’s survey of global basketball, Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure, will be reissued in Fall 2022 in a revised, 20th anniversary edition from Duke University Press.
Over the course of a year on the cusp of the 21st century, in the aftermath of the Dream Team’s star turn at the Barcelona Olympics and Michael Jordan’s retirement, the award-winning Sports Illustrated writer traveled the world to take the measure of basketball’s impact. The New York Times recognized Big Game, Small World as a 2002 Notable Book.
Wolff’s account anticipated how America’s leading sporting export, invented in Massachusetts by a Canadian clergymen and first taken abroad by missionaries during the 1890s, would become a globally integrated phenomenon from the grassroots to the NBA during the first two decades of the new millennium.
In a preface to the Duke edition, Wolff will address those developments, from the activism of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and his indigenous Australian player Patty Mills, to the adoption of the quintessential playground version of the game, 3-on-3, as an Olympic sport.
With basketball a continuing source of American soft power, and an unprecedented number of internationals now playing in the NBA, the unforgettable characters and unlikely staging grounds in Big Game, Small World—from Bhutan to the Philippines, from China to Lithuania, from Brazil to the war-torn Balkans—remain as relevant as ever.