Araton, Harvey 1952–
Araton, Harvey 1952–
ADDRESSES: Home—Montclair, NJ. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, NY, sports reporter, night sports editor, city side reporter, and copyboy, 1970–77; New York Post, New York, NY, sports reporter, 1977–83; New York Daily News, New York, sports reporter and columnist, c. 1983–91; New York Times, New York, sports reporter and national basketball columnist, beginning 1991, "Sports of the Times" columnist, 1994–. New York University, New York, instructor, 1987.
AWARDS, HONORS: Associated Press Sports Editors award, 1992, for enterprise reporting; Pulitzer Prize nomination, 1994; column writing award, Associated Press Sports Editors, 1997; column writing award, Women's Sports Foundation, 1998.
(With Filip Bondy) The Selling of the Green: The Financial Rise and Moral Decline of the Boston Celtics, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Armen Keteyian and Martin F. Dardis) Money Players: Days and Nights inside the New NBA, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Alive and Kicking: When Soccer Moms Take the Field and Change Their Lives Forever, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Crashing the Borders: How Basketball Won the World and Lost Its Soul at Home, Free Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times Magazine, GQ, ESPN Magazine, Sport Magazine, Tennis Magazine, and Basketball Weekly.
SIDELIGHTS: Sports journalist Harvey Araton gained considerable attention for one of his few works that is not about professional athletes: Alive and Kicking: When Soccer Moms Take the Field and Change Their Lives Forever. The book was inspired by the decision of Araton's wife, Beth Albert, and several other mothers from their area to begin playing in a competitive soccer league. Despite these women's busy lives and the fact that many of them had never played team sports in school, they practiced with dedication and played hard. In the process, Araton writes, they won the respect of their children, formed close friendships, supported each other through divorce and breast cancer, and discovered the joys of competition and teamwork. "These women experience the kind of solidarity that lifts us out of ourselves, the kind of which strong communities are made," Allison Pugh noted in the New York Times Book Review. Indeed, the players' community spirit extended beyond their own league: They organized an annual tournament that raised 50,000 dollars to fight breast cancer in its first year, and some of them became certified coaches of their children's soccer teams. The fact that Araton focuses on the impact that playing competitive sports has on these women's personal lives and on their families makes the book "more social history than a sports story," explained Library Journal reviewer John Maxymuk, but as Wes Lukowsky concluded in Booklist, Alive and Kicking "is a wonderful book by an insightful, empathetic author."
Araton's other books include The Selling of the Green: The Financial Rise and Moral Decline of the Boston Celtics, Money Players: Days and Nights inside the New NBA, and Crashing the Borders: How Basketball Won the World and Lost Its Soul at Home. All examine how such social problems as racism, greed, and socioeconomic class intrude on the sport of professional basketball. The Selling of the Green examines the Boston Celtic's decision to maintain an evenly balanced team, with six white and six black players, even though the National Basketball Association as a whole is almost three-quarters black. To Araton and his coauthor, Filip Bondy, this decision represents unconscionable pandering to white Bostonians (the vast majority of the Celtics' fans, despite the fact that Boston is a quarter black), who have long had a reputation for racism. The book is a "hard-hitting exposé," according to a Publishers Weekly critic.
Crashing the Borders, written in the wake of a brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans in December 2004, illustrates how the quest for money has ruined basketball at all levels, with college programs selling out to the demands of television and young players tempted to drop out of college, or even high school, for a chance to turn professional. Yet despite the book's tone of despair, as a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted, its analysis of the social and economic factors behind basketball's decline make it "more than the usual lament for the good old days."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Libraries, September, 2002, Bill Ott, review of Alive and Kicking: When Soccer Moms Take the Field and Change Their Lives Forever, p. 80.
Booklist, September 1, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of Alive and Kicking, p. 33; October 15, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of Crashing the Borders: How Basketball Won the World and Lost Its Soul at Home, p. 20.
Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2001, Bob Condor, "These Moms Are the Ones Who Are Driven."
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of Crashing the Borders, p. 1057.
Library Journal, September 1, 2001, John Maxymuk, review of Alive and Kicking, p. 189.
New York Times Book Review, July 6, 1997, Charles Salzberg, review of Money Players: Days and Nights inside the New NBA, p. 15; January 6, 2002, Allison Pugh, "Mom Was a Goalie: A Sportswriter Examines What Happens When Soccer Moms Take the Field for Themselves," p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, December 6, 1991, review of The Selling of the Green: The Financial Rise and Moral Decline of the Boston Celtics, p. 63; June 11, 2001, review of Alive and Kicking, p. 69.
Sports Illustrated, March 23, 1992, John Garrity, review of The Selling of the Green, p. 87