Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree


Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree

My Basketball Odyssey

Sheldon Anderson

208 pages
20 photographs


September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree chronicles Sheldon Anderson’s basketball career from grade school in small-town Moorhead, Minnesota, in the 1960s, to inner-city high school and college ball in Minneapolis, to a professional career in West Germany, and finally to communist Poland, where he did PhD research while on a basketball junket behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s.

Because he was the only American player in the league at the time, and with help from a Polish scholar, Anderson was one of the first Western scholars to gain access to Communist Party documents. He's also likely the only American scholar to have funded his research by playing semi-pro basketball in a communist country.

Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree is much more than a basketball story. Anderson provides insights into the everyday lives of people on either side of the Iron Curtain, such as the English coach he played for in West Germany, an elderly woman he visited many times in East Germany, and a sailmaker’s family he lived with in Warsaw. He reflects on German, Polish, and Cold War history, providing a commentary on the times and the places where he lived and played, and the importance of basketball along the way.


Author Bio

Sheldon Anderson is a professor of history at Miami University. He is the author of several books, including The Forgotten Legacy of Stella Walsh: The Greatest Woman Athlete of Her Time and The Politics and Culture of Modern Sports.


"For readers with a strong interest in personal accounts of life in Cold War Germany and Poland, the book will surely be captivating."—K. P. McDonough, Choice

“A delightful, often wry nonfiction basketball bildungsroman, Sheldon Anderson’s Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree is reminiscent of other first-rate sport memoirs. . . . This supple narrative, replete with poignant anecdotes, demonstrates how the love of a game can help shape one’s identity, values, and pave the way for future success. Anderson shoots and scores!”—Daniel A. Nathan, coeditor of Baseball beyond Our Borders and past president of the North American Society for Sport History

“Is basketball more than just a game? For Sheldon Anderson, hoops are a sine qua non of life—a prominent theme in this entertaining memoir. Part sport history, part European history, part basketball bildungsroman, part autobiography, Jump Shooting to a Higher Degree reminds us that sport, when played cleanly and fairly and with a respect for one’s opponent, possesses a transcendent power, offering important life lessons and providing opportunities one could have never imagined. Pleasantly written and chock-full of amusing anecdotes, Anderson’s recollection of his experiences in basketball and beyond is an informative, lively read.”—Chris Elzey, coeditor of DC Sports: The Nation’s Capital at Play

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Of God and Games
2. City Hoops
3. Playing with Germans
4. An American in East Germany
5. From “Scheiss Preiss” to Bavaria
6. Wild Turkeys, WACers, and Southside Johnnies
7. Basketball behind the Iron Curtain
8. The Shot Doctor of Philosophy

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