In Seven Seconds or Less, Sports Illustrated's chief NBA writer, Jack McCallum, gets in the paint with the Phoenix Suns and takes a season-long look at the NBA's most exciting and controversial team.
A few weeks before the 2005-2006 NBA training camps began, Jack McCallum called the Phoenix Suns ace director of public relations to propose a story idea for Sports Illustrated. He would spend the preseason with the team as an "assistant coach" and then write a story about his experiences. He was quickly granted access, and while his role as "assistant coach" lasted only through the preseason, McCallum stayed on with the team throughout their amazing 2005-2006 season. McCallum was looking for real inside access and he certainly got it. He spent the season in the locker room and in the coaches' meetings, learning what makes this wildly popular, innovative, and international assemblage of talented players and brilliant coaches tick.
For years, NBA basketball was marked by a plodding, dull-as-dishwater style of play -- that was until coach Mike D'Antoni, point guard Steve Nash, and the high-flying Phoenix Suns set the league on fire with their old-school, run-and-gun approach to offense. Along the way they won back legions of disillusioned fans and demonstrated the virtues of team play to a league preoccupied with one-on-one theatrics.
In Seven Seconds or Less, McCallum describes his year trying to keep up with the fast-breaking Suns on and off the court. He takes readers inside the heads of Nash, the team's mercurial floor general; the maverick D'Antoni; and dozens of others who make up the close-knit Suns family. On the court, there's excitement as the Suns overcome a rash of injuries to once again battle for a conference title. Off the court, controversy rages as the team endures a major front-office change in midseason. Throughout it all, the team continues to bedevil opponents and challenge the status quo with their throwback style.
In the spirit of Buzz Bissinger's Three Nights in August and John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink, Seven Seconds or Less is an in-depth look at one of the greatest shows in sports.
Jack Mccallum has been at Sports Illustrated since 1981 and the chief NBA writer since 1985. His work has appeared in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology, and in 2004 he won the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award for outstanding writing. He is the author of Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court with the 1990-91 Boston Celtics and coauthor of Foul Lines: A Pro Basketball Novel. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.