Rosen, Charles (Charley Rosen)
Rosen, Charles (Charley Rosen)
Male. Education: Attended Hunter College.
Have Jump Shot, Will Travel, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1975.
A Mile above the Rim, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1976.
Scandals of '51, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1978, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 1999.
God, Man, and Basketball Jones: The Thinking Fan's Guide to Professional Basketball, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1979.
Players and Pretenders: The Basketball Team That Couldn't Shoot Straight, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1981, with new afterword, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.
The Cockroach Basketball League, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1992.
AS CHARLEY ROSEN
The House of Moses All-Stars (novel), Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Barney Polan's Game: A Novel of the 1951 College Basketball Scandals, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Phil Jackson) More Than a Game, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 2001.
The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Darryl Dawkins) Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Times of Darryl Dawkins, Sport Media Publishing (Kingston, NY), 2003.
The Pivotal Season: How the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers Changed the NBA, foreword by Phil Jackson, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Charles Rosen is a former college basketball star who went on to play and coach the game in the minor leagues and at the college level. He is the author of a number of books on the sport, including More Than a Game, which he coauthored with famed NBA basketball coach Phil Jackson.
Rosen's The House of Moses All-Stars is set in the Depression in 1936 and told from the point of view of Aaron Steiner. Aaron joins a Jewish professional basketball team, called the House of Moses All-Stars. The team of "seven jumbo Jews," includes a Communist, a Zionist, a bank robber, and an Irishman posing as a Jew. Together they embark on a wacky cross-country tour, driving from New York to California in a converted Chevy hearse with Stars of David on the sides.
A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that although the novel attempts "to explore what it means to be an outsider during hard times," it falls short. Library Journal reviewer Will Hepfer, however, observed that the teammates have many chances to talk "about getting along, pursuing dreams, and being outsiders." He also noted the "good hoop action." Andy Solomon, reviewing the book for Chicago Tribune Books, found that Rosen's "depth and erudition make this a tale of much more than sport. Rosen gives us a sometimes agonizing, often hilarious journey through American history, and a poignant account of what keeps a man running."
Barney Polan's Game: A Novel of the 1951 College Basketball Scandals is a fictional treatment of the factual events covered in Rosen's Scandals of '51. Narrators include coaches, players, and sportswriter Barney Polan, all of whom follow the point-shaving scandals of that year.
Rosen and NBA coach Phil Jackson coauthored More Than a Game, Jackson's memoir and a history of the league from the 1970s, when players included Bill Bradley, who later turned to politics. In the first half of the book Rosen and Jackson contribute alternating chapters in which they talk about their friendship, lives in basketball, and life in general. Booklist contributor Wes Lukowsky wrote that "underlying it all is a reverence for a game that, when played well, can be a transcendent personal experience and a joy to watch."
Jackson's career is traced from his coaching of the Albany Patroons in the Continental Basketball Association, at which time Rosen was his assistant coach, to his association with the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls and experience coaching such players as Michael Jordan, though he spends a relatively small amount of space talking about his days with the Bulls, as that was the subject of Jackson's Sacred Hoops. New York Times Book Review critic Allen St. John wrote: "the authors intentionally play down some of the, well, softer aspects of Jackson's idiosyncratic coaching philosophy, which openly embraces elements of Zen Buddhism and American Indian philosophy. Jackson and Rosen make only a passing reference to the Lakers' team meditation sessions and yoga practices, and we never find out what book Jackson gave to Kobe and which to Shaq." Jackson also describes his first championship season with the champion Los Angeles Lakers, a team that previously lacked discipline, and how Tex Winter's triangle offense was integral to their success. He writes of his use of psychological mapping of player positions and mental imaging in improving his record. The volume includes a glossary of terms and strategy diagrams, critics observed, making it a good resource for coaches and players.
The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball is Rosen's account of how the talented Molinas, who played only half a season with the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1953-1954, was expelled from the NBA for betting, including on his own team. Molinas began playing ball at twelve and was a star at Stuyvesant High School and Columbia, where he was also a brilliant student who easily earned a law degree. He became involved with bookies at a young age and exercised his love of gambling in a number of ways, including the stock market, at which he was very successful. Rosen draws on Molina's own manuscript, unfinished at the time of his death, in which he details his love of gambling. He would bet on anything, and he made fortunes for himself and others, including by fixing games and boxing matches, sometimes by arranging to have players drugged. He used a remote buzzer to shock horses during a race and bribed players with money and prostitutes, offering them what was a great deal during a time when professional basketball players did not earn significant incomes. He had a connection with Con Edison who enabled him to reduce the electricity coming into betting parlors, slowing the time by just a minute, so that he could bet on races that had already been completed. Because of Molina, several dozen players were arrested for involvement in his game fixing, and many others carried their shame throughout their careers. He spent time in prison and later produced pornography. He died of a gunshot to the back of the head, and it is assumed that the murder was mob related. Charles Hirshberg reviewed the book for Sports Illustrated, writing: "Yet Molinas's brilliance and charm make him an entrancing character—think Tony Soprano with a basketball—and Rosen's book reads more like a novel than a biography. No Hollywood screenwriter could have drawn him more colorfully."
Rosen coauthored the memoir of Darryl Dawkins titled Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Times of Darryl Dawkins. Dawkins was a NBA star with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets during the 1970s and 1980s. Born in Florida, he began playing NBA ball at the age of eighteen, the first player to go straight to the NBA from high school. He is also credited with taking the skill of dunking a basketball to a new level. During his career, Dawkins lived the high life, partying and experimenting with drugs. He sometimes resorted to violence, once breaking his wife's nose. He also writes of issues of race and double standards in the sport. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Raw, provocative and as unsubtle as a shattering backboard, this is a look at how it used to be—from a man who was most definitely there."
In The Pivotal Season: How the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers Changed the NBA, Rosen writes of the season during which the Lakers won thirty-three consecutive games, and of the playing skill of team members such as Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West and the coaching skill of Bill Sharman, all three of whom were later inducted into the Hall of Fame.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 1998, Mary Carroll, review of Barney Polan's Game: A Novel of the 1951 College Basketball Scandals, p. 984; March 1, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of More Than a Game, p. 1186; February 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Pivotal Season: How the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers Changed the NBA, p. 929.
Kliatt, September, 2002, Tom Adamich, review of More Than a Game, p. 46.
Library Journal, December 1996, Will Hepfer, review of The House of Moses All-Stars, p. 177; February 15, 1998, Will Hepfer, review of Barney Polan's Game, p. 172; March 15, 2001, John Maxymuk, review of More Than a Game, p. 89; January, 2002, John Maxymuk, review of The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball, p. 114; April 15, 2003, James Miller, review of Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Times of Darryl Dawkins, p. 94; January 1, 2005, James Miller, review of The Pivotal Season, p. 122.
New York Times Book Review, April 8, 2001, Allen St. John, review of More Than a Game, p. 25; March 3, 2002, Eric Konigsberg, review of The Wizard of Odds, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1996, review of The House of Moses All-Stars, p. 65; February 26, 2001, review of More Than a Game, p. 70; April 7, 2003, review of Chocolate Thunder, p. 57.
Sports Illustrated, February 18, 2002, Charles Hirshberg, review of The Wizard of Odds, p. R8.
Times Literary Supplement, March 7, 1997, Alexander Harrison, review of The House of Moses All-Stars, p. 23.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 2, 1997, Andy Solomon, review of The House of Moses All-Stars, p. 6.
Broken Cowboy blog,http://www.brokencowboy.com/2005/06/an_interview_wi.html (June 24, 2005), "An Interview with Charley Rosen."