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Published Basketball Poems

Poetry Example from the Collection of Great Published Basketball Poems

The world of professional sports rarely sees the literary magnificence that they so richly deserve. Just think about what pleasure and what great knowledge in not only life but the game of basketball that can be gleaned from a simple poem.

The chances are very good that you will find some semblance of self-identification when you read this great basketball poem. These published basketball poems although not two of the most read or most popular are definitely worthy of lending an ear to especially in the pursuit of a well-rounded individual.

Sit back and read this fine example of basketball history that started out on a hardwood court and ended up on the screen of your computer or cellular device.

ESPN’s Own Henry Abbott

The poem we will review is the one by ESPN’s own Henry Abbott. Please see that the poem that Abbott wrote about a friend and a co-player during a pick-up game of basketball presented below and feel the words. Alexie wrote about playing pickup basketball with former NBA forward James Bailey.

The poem itself opens up a new world to the basketball player as well as the basketball fan that rarely is opened or ventured into.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let me sing an honor song for James Bailey,
A pro hoopster who is mostly forgotten,
But for me will always be contemporary.
Nearly seven feet tall, clad in white cotton

And new hightops, he once rose and blocked my shot
Off the court and down the pavement walkway,
Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, and rolling on a hot
August day until it splashed into Green Lake,

Maybe seventy-five yards away from the court.
That spectacular play shut down the game.
After that humiliation, who can keep score?
One guy asked me, “What’s your name? What’s your name?”

Because he wanted to get all the details
“Correct.” Two other brothers just ran away
And never returned. I supposed I failed
In some basketball sense, by thinking my lame

Spin move running jumper could ever succeed
Against a player like Bailey. But I had game
In those days. Skinny and mean, I could compete
On any court. Or so I thought. How strange

To know, now that I’m old and broken, how young
And foolish I used to be. James Bailey
Was only a decent pro, but I was a runt
In his presence. I’m still a serf, puny

And contrite: “Mr. Bailey, I’m so sorry
I tried to sneak that garbage into your house.
But, damn, that block of yours was so pretty,
Epic, and canonized by the adoring crowd,

That my embarrassment felt like a blessing,
Like a parable teaching me this lesson:
When we hoopsters look into our interiors,
We learn we can be gorgeous and inferior.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We hope that you enjoyed this fine example of a poem about playing basketball. We will not intrude upon your own take on the selection as that is not what needs to be done.

What needs to be done and something that you just completed was to open up your mind to the world of both basketball and poetry. A beautiful one two punch to the proverbial kisser is what you just experienced and we hope you had a great time!


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