It’s hard to believe that there was a time when the jump shot didn’t exist in basketball. When the sport was invented in 1891, players would take set shots with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Defenders controlled the sport, the pace was slower, and games would frequently end with scores fit for a football field. It took almost forty years before players began shooting jump shots of any kind and sixty-five years before it became a common sight. When the first jump shooting pioneers left the ground, they rose not only above their defenders, but also above the sport’s conventions. The jump shot created a soaring offense, infectious excitement, loyal fans, and legends. Basketball would never be the same.
Rise and Fire celebrates this crucial shot while tracing the history of how it revolutionized the game, shedding light on all corners of the basketball world, from NBA arenas to the playgrounds of New York City and the barns of Indiana. Award-winning journalist Shawn Fury obsesses over the jump shot, explores its fundamentals, puzzles over its complexities, marvels at its simplicity, and honors those who created some of basketball’s greatest moments. Part history, part travelogue, and part memoir, Rise and Fire bounces from the dirt courts of the 1930s to today’s NBA courts and state-of-the-art shooting labs, examining everything from how nets and rims affect a shooter to rivalries between shooting coaches to how the three-pointer came to rule the game. Impeccably researched and engaging, the book features interviews and profiles of legendary figures like Jerry West, Bob McAdoo, Ray Allen, and Denise Long—the first woman ever drafted by the NBA, plus dozens more, revealing the evolution of the shot over time.
Analyzing the techniques and reliving some of the most unforgettable plays from the greats, Fury creates a technical, personal, historical, and even spiritual examination of the shot. This is not a dry how-to textbook of basketball mechanics; it is a lively tour of basketball history and a love letter to the sport and the shot that changed it forever.
“[An] enthusiastic and entertaining . . . romp through basketball history . . . Just like you want a great jump shooter on your team, you want this book on your shelf.”—The Washington Post
“We live in the age of the jump shot . . . In Rise and Fire, Shawn Fury recounts his own love affair with the jump shot while chasing down famed shooters of yesteryear to learn the secrets of their scoring genius . . . Ranging from the jump shot’s folk roots to the shooting labs and statistical preoccupations that color today’s game . . . [Fury’s] reading about the jump shot is omnivorous.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Rise and Fire is a quintessential read for anyone fascinated by basketball's on-going evolution. It takes a simple, yet fascinating question—how did the jump shot gradually become the most aesthetically-pleasing movement in all of sports? —and turns it into an engrossing odyssey that offers insight, answers, and a meditation on artistry. This is a must-have for anyone who ever held their breath when Larry Bird let one fly with the game on the line, or spent a long summer night in their parents' driveway, hoisting countless jumpers at a rim illuminated by the glow of flickering floodlights mounted above the garage.”—Kevin Van Valkenburg, senior writer at ESPN The Magazine
“Some of the best to ever do it are discussed, namely Michael Jordan, which is part of what makes Rise and Fire a great teacher for any student of the game.”—SLAM
“This is a necessary read . . . You’ll be sure to learn something new while gaining a new appreciation for the character and work ethic of some of the greatest shooters to have graced the floor.”—BBall Breakdown
“Rise and Fire profiles great shooters of the past and present, from Rick Mount to Ray Allen and countless more, but also shows the importance and beauty of the jump shot itself, a play that continues to evolve and change the game. Shawn Fury's superb book is about one shot, but every basketball fan will enjoy it.”—Mike Krzyzewski, Head Coach of the Duke and USA Men’s National basketball teams
“This is a book about a shot, but it's of course so much more than that. One basic shot—a fundamental human movement—is interpreted and evolved around the country and the world, with everyone adding their own regional take. Fury's book is thorough and smart, but more than anything, it's a lively, extremely fun travelogue through a journey that parallels that of the sport it transformed.”—Will Leitch, founder of Deadspin and author of Are We Winning? and God Save the Fan
“Rise and Fire is a love letter to the jump shot, full of fascinating details and anecdotes. Wide-ranging and thoroughly researched, it is both a lively history and an ode to that mysterious, timeless motion. You can feel Fury's passion and curiosity on every page.”—Chris Ballard, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and author of The Art of a Beautiful Game
“It's the lesser-known stories and anecdotes, including the author's visit with Hoosiers model Bobby Plump, that make Rise and Fire a nothing-but-net read.”—Jack McCallum, author of Dream Team and Seven Seconds or Less
“Shawn Fury's written a biography of the jump shot which is perfect for the age of no conscience in basketball. The jump shot is in full flower in the postmodern game these days. [This is] a fun read filled with surprises and great stories. Certain requirements are fulfilled—Larry Bird gets his own chapter. It's a must for any serious hoops library.”—Roland Lazenby, author of Michael Jordan, The Life
"An anecdote- and research-filled love story for anyone who worships at New York's West 4th Street playground or Kansas's famous fieldhouse "The Phog.” . . . Rich with game details, player biography, and roundball lore, Rise and Fire is a history of modern basketball traced through the devastating and graceful jump shot."—Shelf Awareness
"In a pleasing touch, Fury mixes a little memoir—high school, college, and playground games—into the stories . . . and then returns, smoothly if not silkily, to the chronological march, noting how the evolution of the shot changes everything each time it punctures the game's equilibrium . . . The jump shot created offense, and Fury elevates it to yet higher ground."—Kirkus Reviews
"[Fury] comprehensively traces the transformative effect of the jump shot . . . there is much here to rekindle the memories of basketball fans, who will quickly discern that there is one thing all these jump shooters have in common: Swish!"—Booklist
"A fascinating discourse on the evolution of the sport."—Library Journal (starred review)
“Fury’s enthusiasm for the topic and his love of uncovering the obscure give the book a fun jolt.”—Publishers Weekly