How Sherlock Holmes Made Me a Better Basketball Player
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
English professors are always preaching about how literature and art can make us better people. In my case, literature made me a better basketball player.
During my first year in the NBA when I was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, a friend gave me the complete set of Sherlock Holmes stories. I lugged them along on the team’s next road trip. I was fascinated by Holmes’ ability to see clues where other people saw nothing. It was like he saw the world in color while everyone else saw it in black and white.
I was immediately inspired to apply Holmesian powers of observation to my basketball game. Certainly there had to be some way to apply Holmes’ skill in a practical way to help give me an edge. Because I kept playing the same athletes over and over, I began carefully observing their moves, their habits, and their weaknesses, cataloguing them in mental files. Of course, many athletes keep mental books on opposing players, but I wanted mine to be even more detailed.
Remembering how Homes relied on his rag-tag street boys, the Baker Street Irregulars, to help him gather information, I decided to modify his approach. I began paying close attention to the chatter amongst the ball boys and other staffers. One time I overheard a couple ball boys discussing how Bob Lanier and his coach liked to smoke in the locker room at half time. After hearing that, I decided to run Lanier up and down the court as fast as I could in order to tire him out. I’d let his smoke-addled lungs do the rest.
Thanks to Sherlock Holmes, the game was quite literally afoot.
About the Book:
Fresh out of university, Mycroft is working for Edward Cardwell, the British Secretary of State for War, and is already proving himself as a shrewd player in the British government. His best friend is Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent born and raised in Trinidad, where Mycroft’s new fiancée, Georgiana, also was raised.
Cyrus hears troubling news from home: mysterious disappearances; strange, backwards-facing footprints on the sand; spirits enticing children to their deaths. Holmes’s fiancée receives the same news, abruptly panics, and departs for Trinidad. Mycroft, worried to death for her, talks Cyrus into following her on this hazardous journey, drawing them all into a web of dark secrets that grow more insidious and baffling with each step they take.
Sherlock Holmes will appear as a student at King’s College, along with enticing hints about the ‘true state’ of the Holmes family—and the painful legacy that the brothers endure. The tragedies that Mycroft encounters in this adventure are the seeds that will eventually turn him into the reclusive genius ‘power’ behind the British government, and the founder of the famous Diogenes Club.
For more information about Mycroft Holmes, coming October 2015, click here.