Abrams' first book showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of the Prep-to-Pro Generation and hints at where the NBA may be headed with regard to draft eligibility rules.

Abrams’ first book, which debuted March 15, 2016, showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of the prep-to-pro generation and hints at where the NBA may be headed with regard to draft eligibility rules.

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The wait is over. Jonathan Abrams’ highly anticipated book, “Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution,”  is finally out! In it, he expertly chronicles the impact of the players who came to the NBA directly from high school before the rule was changed after the 2005 draft. Aaron spoke with the author in detail about the book and some of its most fascinating takeaways. To get you in the mood, we’ve transcribed some sexy clips:

9:37-10:07; Abrams on how he set out to humanize larger-than-life NBA players: “I don’t think there’s that much of a challenge if you just look at these people as human beings, which they are. They all have stories and origin tales of where they began. And I try to look at each story almost like, ‘OK, how did this guy become who he is today? What influenced him and what made him become that person?’ You just start from there and try to unravel the tape and figure it all out.”

13:55-14:48 on the challenge of structuring the narrative: “It was difficult. That was one of the things that I struggled with for a little while. The first thing I did was try to do as much as reporting on the subject as I could. Try to talk to as many coaches and players and agents as possible. And then I tried to construct how the book was gonna flow. And yeah, it was difficult at first. I didn’t want the same story over and over again in different chapters, and I didn’t want the chapters to seem all disconnected. And I think the one thing that did make sense was to try to connect it through kind of how the NBA grew up and matured, because back when Kobe and KG were entering the league, Michael Jordan was still king and NBA salaries weren’t anywhere near where it is today. So you can almost say that the NBA grew up during this time with these players as well.”

24:25-24:58 on how Tyson Chandler was able to avoid potentially disastrous early pitfalls: “I think he was one of those guys who recognized pretty early on that he has to play the system before it plays him. He had one of my favorite quotes in the book, where he said that all the people he saw in the AAU system trying to take advantage of him were kind of the same people he saw on the streets growing up in San Bernardino. And, to me, that really made a lot of sense because it was the same type of game being played in both areas – people trying to take advantage of his talents, and he recognized it for what it was.”

40:05-40:49 on ending the book with the story of Tony Key: “It just felt like a natural ending because here was a guy who was in his early 30s now, who was still trying to cling to this dream, who had once been thought of as a guy who could jump from high school to the pros, who the system had kind of taken advantage of somewhat, but also some of it fell on his shoulders. And I wasn’t sure if he was ever able to completely mature as a man even in his young 30s, and he was still chasing this dream. So that’s why I thought it would be good to end on it because it’s good to have dreams and good to be able to chase them, and who’s to say when to give up on it? But at a certain point, you have to be realistic in life.”

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod