By Charles Salzberg
This is one of the classics from the pioneer era. The author interviewed Moe Goldman Sidney "Sonny" Hertzberg, Nat "Feets" Broudy, Robert Davies, Slater "Doogie" Martin, "Easy Ed" Macauley, Dolph Schayes, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, Bill Sharman, George "The Bird" Yardley, Norm Drucker, Johnny "Big Red" Kerr, Cal Ramsey, Jerry West, and Louie Dampier. He asked them standard questions, such as describing the league in their time, the impact of African-American players, what they thought about the modern game, etc.
The author sought out players who were not written about in other books, which is why Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and others were not interviewed.
The result is great. It feels like sitting down and listening to your Grandfather tell stories from his time. You can appreciate what these guys did establish the league and how much they loved the game. The stories of their camaraderie is refreshing. And you can see just how different the game was, as it was more physically demanding than the modern game.
If you want to learn about the pioneer era, check out Leonard Koppett's 24 seconds to shoot for the generalities and this book for specifics.
History: 1946-1978, but mostly in the 1940s
From Set Shot to Slam Dunk: the glory days of basketball in the words of those who played it. Charles Salzberg. 1988.