Life in the G

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Life in the G

Minor League Basketball and the Relentless Pursuit of the NBA

Alex Squadron
Foreword by Andre Ingram

288 pages
19 photographs

Hardcover

October 2023

978-1-4962-3585-5

$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023

978-1-4962-3794-1

$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023

978-1-4962-3795-8

$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Welcome to the G League—the official minor league of the National Basketball Association. Life in the G is about the arduous quest to achieve an improbable goal: making it to the NBA. Zeroing in on the Birmingham Squadron and four of its players—Jared Harper, Joe Young, Zylan Cheatham, and Malcolm Hill—Alex Squadron details the pursuit of a dream in what turned out to be the most remarkable season in the history of minor league sports.

Life in the G League is far from glamorous. Players make enormous sacrifices and work unimaginable hours in the hope that someone in the NBA will give them a chance. To this day, very few fans—even the most passionate followers of the NBA—know much about the G League. In the fall of 2021, the Birmingham Squadron granted author Alex Squadron complete access to the team to capture the experience of playing in the league.

That year, with hundreds of NBA players sidelined by the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, the G League saw a record number of call-ups. Sports Illustrated labeled it “the year of the NBA replacement player.” Many of those players stayed in the NBA, earning life-changing contracts and taking on significant roles for their new teams. In addition to recounting the organization’s inaugural season, Squadron’s access to the Birmingham Squadron enabled him to document the incredible journeys of G League players and to tell the larger story of life in the G. This is the inspiring tale of an unforgettable season and the emotional roller coaster for everyone involved in the chase for an NBA dream.

Author Bio

Alex Squadron is a sports journalist who has worked as an associate editor for SLAM, producing cover stories on NBA stars and reporting on numerous marquee events, including the NBA Finals, NBA All-Star Weekend, and FIBA World Cup in China. Andre Ingram is a professional basketball player who has spent fourteen years in the G League. He also serves as president of the G League’s union.
 

Praise

"This is an unforgettable view of an aspect of the NBA that most of us don't see, in which the glitz and glamour we're used to are replaced by the true, day-to-day grind of the $37,000-a-year-earning NBA hopeful. Squadron's detailed narrative impeccably captures the pursuit of an elusive dream."—Philip Zozzaro, Booklist

"Squadron's book is filled with colorful, interesting characters, the most captivating being head coach Ryan Pannone. A basketball mastermind with unparalleled knowledge of the game who cares so much, the reader has no other option but to feel for him."—Lukasz Muniowski, Sport in American History

"I can’t recommend Life in the G enough. It's an instant classic on the level of 'Hoop Dreams' and 'Friday Night Lights.' For sports fans, it's essential reading. Any fan of basketball will absolutely cherish every single word, but Life in the G is so much more than a book about basketball. . . . Squadron is a first-class reporter and a brilliant writer. Life in the G is American basketball canon."—Joe Goodman, al.com

Life in the G is an oft-gritty, oft-surprising, always engrossing love letter not simply to basketball but to those scratching and clawing to make the League. Alex Squadron has written his dream book, and the passion drips from every page. Bravo.”—Jeff Pearlman, New York Times best-selling author of The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson

“A fascinating and well-reported look at the ups and downs of life in the G League and the everyday struggles of players reaching for their dream. Highly recommended!”—Paul Fichtenbaum, chief content officer of The Athletic

“Finally, a book that captures the struggle, the yearning, the grind of pursuing an NBA dream. It might take luck to make the big leagues, but there’s nothing lucky about Alex Squadron’s soulful, deeply reported book. He has taken us to the gym, to the heartbreak, and to the very core of what it means to dream.”—Mirin Fader, New York Times best-selling author of Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

“Squadron provides a necessary deep dive beneath the glitz and glam of major professional sports to reveal the pure human pursuit of happiness and dream-chasing that underscores the modern NBA.”—Jake Fischer, author of Built to Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever

“Unlike the oft-romanticized world of Minor League Baseball, the professional basketball played below the NBA in this country is undercovered and totally misunderstood. With deft reporting and a humane approach that makes you care about the characters, Alex Squadron’s Life in the G brings you inside the NBA G League and teaches what it really takes for many NBA players to make it to the ‘Association.’”—Ben Osborne, author of The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island

Table of Contents

Foreword by Andre Ingram
Author’s Note
Introduction
1. What’s the G League?
2. It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham
3. Tryouts
4. Draft Day
5. Training Camp
6. Winning Matters
7. The Marshmallow Experiment
8. November 17, 2021
9. The Panic Button
10. The Price of a Dream
11. Basketball in the Magic City
12. Omicron
13. Showcase
14. Going Up
15. Centimeter of Chance
16. Can You Pass This Test?
17. A Ruthless Business
18. Keep Going
19. Malcolm Hill’s Here
20. At Peace
21. Thinking about Life
22. For the Love
23. We All We Got
24. Win or Go Home
25. Never Ending
Acknowledgments
Notes

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