Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Review of "Collision Course"

Mainly because they have called four different cities home, the current Sacramento Kings franchise have a colorful history.  The 26 years they called Cincinnati home and were known as the Royals is the subject of this book.  Here is my review of "Collision Course"

“Collision Course: The Basketball Lived of Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson and the Fall of the Cincinnati Royals" by William Cook

Basketball, professional, Royals, business, history

Publish date:
November 5, 2019

335 pages

Rating: to
3 of 5 stars (okay)

The NBA franchise known today as the Sacramento Kings has a very rich and colorful history.  Some of the most interesting time for the franchise came during the years 1957-1973 when the team was based in Cincinnati and known as the Royals, keeping the name it had when moving from Rochester, New York in 1957.  That portion of the team history, which includes two of the biggest names in basketball history, is told in this book by William Cook.

While the book is supposed to be about the Royals and how those two individuals, Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson, the book covers so much more. Especially when giving the background information on both of the Hall of Fame players.  There is so much written about Cousy's time with the Celtics, I almost forgot that the book was supposed to be about the Cincinnati Royals.  Cook also spends significant space in the book on other related but not necessary information on the history of the league before the Royals moved to the Queen City, the college basketball gambling scandals of the 1950's and the history of the shot clock in the NBA.  All interesting topics and at times, he ties in important Royals figures but all in all, I felt there was a lot of sidetracking from the team.  There are also some editing issues with the final Kindle edition that I read.

Which is a shame, because when the Royals are the main subject, it makes for good, informational reading and how they were really bought just to make sure that the main business of the Jacob brothers, concessions, will still be thriving in another market with more dates.  Cook, through his writing, makes it clear that the Jacobs don't understand the business of running a sports team as well as concessions, as despite having terrific talent such as Robertson and Jerry Lucas.

There were a few seasons when the Royals made a good playoff run, but when those ended and the team started having trouble winning and attracting fans, the team decided to lure Cousy from his college coaching job at Boston College and coach the Royals.  Here, this is where the title of the book starts and Cook does a nice job of capturing the mood of the team, Cousy and the players whom he eventually trades away because he feels that their style of play are not compatible with what he wants.  This leads the team to trade away Lucas and Robertson, whose feeling about the franchise, the city of Cincinnati (where he also played college ball) and Cousy are spilled.  This was too much to overcome and in 1973, the franchise relocated once again to Kansas City.  It should be noted that in both Cincinnati and in Kansas City, the team was considered "regional' and played home games at multiple sites, which in the end was not helpful for attendance or for fans to call the team "local."  

This is a book loaded with useful and entertaining information about a nomadic franchise that has promise, but in the end, it is just an okay read.
Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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