The Man Who Changed Basketball

Young Adult - General
213 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2019
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Author Biography

Mike DeLucia grew up in the Throggs Neck/Pelham Bay section of the Bronx and spent his childhood playing baseball, basketball, softball, and all of the street games associated with city living in the ‘60s and 70s. The Yankees were as much a part of his life as Sunday mid-afternoon macaroni and meatballs, religion, and summer vacations at Lake George. He would never have believed that his first book would call for a boycott of his beloved team. He didn’t write this manifesto because he stopped loving the Yankees, he wrote it because of how much he did, and tries to reclaim the fan-friendly atmosphere of the old ballpark from the corporate icy chill of the new one. Even though he wrote his first screenplay, The Hank Luisetti Story, now titled Madness, at the age of 22, he didn’t publish his first book, Boycott The Yankees until the age of 56. His next work, Settling A Score is a short story that invites readers to the Bronx during the 1960s and into the home of the DeFrancos where two estranged brothers are forced to play on the same little league team and learn life-changing lessons in the process. His oldest and newest project, Madness, is a historical fiction novel about Hall of Fame forward, Hank Luisetti, whose unorthodox playing style reinvented basketball in the 1930s and paved the way for March Madness and the formation of the NBA. Mike has two children and one grandchild.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball by Mike DeLucia is based on a true story about the little-known fact of how one man changed the history of basketball. The year is 1926 and ten-year-old Angelo "Hank" Luisetti is among a crowd of spectators at the Galileo High School Gymnasium in San Francisco. A less popular sport compared to baseball and football, basketball players at this time strictly follow the stop-set-shoot philosophy and generally pass and shoot the ball using two hands, which made the game less of a thrill. Of Italian origin and groomed to inherit his father's business, Hank develops a love for basketball that will take him to Stanford University to become their star player. His innovations will later be considered as the start of a new era for this now highly popular game.

Mike DeLucia's Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball is obviously a tribute to Angelo "Hank" Luisetti and it is richly well deserved. It is fascinating to learn about this young man who pioneered the running one-handed shot and helped make basketball the exciting and popular game that it is today. Mike DeLucia traces Hank's story with surprisingly meticulous detail and the result is a vivid picture of an unassuming young man that made an important mark in basketball history. What makes Madness an engaging read is that when readers turn the pages of this book, they somehow get to personally know the man whose significant contributions to basketball history are largely ignored; his hopes, dreams, and struggles. So the next time we enjoy watching a thrilling basketball game, we can thank Hank Luisetti for it.

Cyrus Webb

Cyrus Webb
5.0 out of 5 starsA masterful win, MADNESS by Mike DeLucia does the legacy of Hank Luisetti proud
April 11, 2019
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Before reading the book MADNESS by author Mike DeLucia I had never heard of Hank Luisetti. Now I can say it is by far a story that I am so glad I have had a chance to enjoy and now share with others. Based on the live of a man who changed not just basketball but what others thought was possible, this book shows us that with passion, determination and belief in self and your abilities there is no limit to what you can do.

I love that Mike allows us to know the man before the sport, the man that was driven by the sport and what it did for him and others. This is story that is sure to inspire others not to give up on their goals and dreams never knowing where they might lead.

Nicholas Garr

A sports milestone I never knew, but worth remembering.
February 6, 2019
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I would say author Mike DeLucia is to the sports novel, what Sylvester Stallone is to the sports film. Mr. DeLucia’s characters are rich and relatable, in a story where sports is an analogy for life. The only difference is that’s Mr. DeLucia’s characters are true-life people who actually existed. My friends and I always test each other on sports trivia. I'm going to impress them, and win some bets, with what I learned here. The main character, Hank Luisetti, is someone I had never heard of before. After reading this book, and doing some fact checking myself, I can see that it is the name that should never be forgotten in the annals of basketball. We don’t think of basketball as a slow moving game. I learned here that this is largely thanks to Luisetti, whose innovative style of dribbling, lay-ups and one handed shots, changed all that. The novel, very effectively conjures a time past, America in the 1930s. It is a time when social media did not exist. So a revolution, in a then unpopular game like basketball, could easily be missed. Mike DeLucia keeps the characters engaging, and the action moving. He manages to capture the energy and excitement of a championship face-off, and put it on the page. This is a well-done “sports” novel. I highly recommend it.

Pam Dunn

I urge you to give this book a read.
February 27, 2019
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In Madness, Mr. DeLucia brings to life the legendary life and career of Hank Luisetti. It's difficult for an author to do justice to a man that changed the breath and scope of basketball. Fortunately, Mr. DeLucia writes with uncommon candor and intelligence that brings us inside the ups and downs of Hank's Hall of Fame journey. At its heart, Madness is a love story about basketball. Mr. DeLucia writes honestly about the games' vices and virtues at a time when college basketball was almost like a religion. It is a tale of conflict and change for Mr. Luisetti both as a basketball player and as a man. Mr. DeLucia eloquently navigates the twist and turns of Hank's life and innovative shooting and playmaking with a series of literary flourishes worthy of some of the best basketball scribes in the business. The bottom line is that Madness is pound for pound the best basketball book I have read in many, many years and I urge you to give it a read.

Alla Gorkova

Alla Gorkova

Odysseus, Percy Jackson... Hank Luisetti???

I recently purchased a copy of Madness for my son because he’s into sports books. He raved about it, so I picked it up and read it in a few hours. As I read, I began to notice Odyssey references: the Sirens, Hercules, Zeus, Poseidon, and possibly Cyclops (Luisetti spears the basket through the eye of the rim after he shoots the ball over a six foot eight giant). Since basketball pioneer Hank Luisetti has an affinity to travel and he is directly called a hero in the text, there is no doubt that the author turned him into Odysseus in the 1930s, his adventures occurring on college basketball courts in the USA. Pretty cool! I absolutely loved this book!

Ken Stark

A forgotten man, forgotten no longer

Every sport has its superstars. Baseball has its Babe Ruth. Hockey has its Wayne Gretzky. Football has its Joe Montana. And basketball has its.... Hank Luisetti? Wait, what? You've never heard of Hank Luisetti? Well, neither had I, until I read Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball by author Mike DeLucia. Rest assured, Hank Luisetti was a real person, and he has most definitely earned his place on the list. He was not only a superstar in his day, but he was the kind of superstar who actually changed the way his sport was played. Almost single-handedly, Luisetti took basketball from a static, defensive bore-fest with final scores reminiscent of a little league game, to the crazy powerhouse that is today's March Madness. Hank Luisetti was a genuine superstar in 1930's America, and by 2019, he's been entirely forgotten. Well, <i>almost</i> entirely.
In Mike DeLucia's own words, Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball, was a long time coming. After hearing the story of Hank Luisetti from his father, he spent years digging through the forgotten man's life, and his dedication to that research shows. But this is no dry listing of accomplishments on the court. We drop in on Luisetti as a young boy with a dream, and we get to follow him over every bump in the road on his way to realizing that dream. It is intimate, it is compelling, and in Mike DeLucia's capable hands, it reads like something that the bigwigs in Hollywood should be all over. Humble beginnings. Immigrant family. Good man, but flawed. True love, so close yet just out of reach. It even has a climactic scene of the championship game, which DeLucia describes to perfection. It is the quintessential American story, but it's more than that, too. It is an everyman story. It tells us that it's okay to dream, it's okay to go against prevailing wisdom, and it's okay to aspire to things you couldn't possibly hope to accomplish. And most importantly, it tells us that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, our dreams really can come true.
5 huge stars for Madness, and my thanks to Mike DeLucia for introducing me to such a remarkable man.

William Bonomo

Who ever heard of Hank Luisetti? Or Mike Delucia?
Well, after reading Mike’s book about an Italian-American who changed the game of basketball I think a lot of people will.

It’s more than just the story of how Hank Luisetti’s one handed technique on the court paved the way for what the sport is today. It also gets into his personal life and some emotional moments between him, his parents and his girlfriend.

Mike Delucia is a natural storyteller who writes in a really conversational way and without the arduous details. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down.
Do yourself a favor and give it a read.

Cynthia R.

Why have we forgotten this man?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It presents a fascinating story of a sportsman that has been forgotten.

I had never heard of Hank Luisetti before reading “MADNESS” by Mike DeLucia. This is not only a story of how one man redefined the game of basketball, it is also a story of how there is no limit to what you can achieve if you have passion, perseverance, and if you believe in oneself.

This is a fast-paced and energetic story, it is beautifully written, informative, and fun to read. There is something for every reader – sports, romance, drama, comedy, suspense.

I highly recommend this book, not only for sports lovers, for everyone.

Pat Bryant

Wow brought me back to my roots !

I was raised in NY by the sweetest Italian parents, so this book brought back so many good memories !
Mike made you feel like you knew each character personally a talented writer like Mike will keep you so involved you will not want to put the book down. I certainly recommend this book, enjoyed it so very much.

Megan B

Not just for boys!

I loved the book. I’m a girl trying to get more into sports and this was a fun bridge. Extremely immersive and interesting! Once you start reading you can’t stop. This is a book you’ll want to read twice!

Edward T Walker

A must read for basketball fans or those who just enjoy a good old fashioned story!

Mike DeLucia remembered something his father mentioned years prior and turned it into this fantastic book. Thoroughly researched and written in a way that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next. If you are reading this review please don't miss this opportunity to read a book that you will never forget.

Ken Fry

I've never seen a live basketball game...that's about to change...MADNESS by Mike DeLucia is nothing short of inspirational. The true life hero is Hank Luisetti, unbelievably gifted who transforms the game into what we know it today. Back in the mid-1930's what he performed was unheard of. The story is emotional with parental and romantic tensions...but oh gosh, I could't put it down... It had me cheering for him! If you are not moved by this you must be as wooden as a gatepost! 5 star and more for Madness and the author.

Sherry Ellis

Madness is an engaging sports novel that brings to life basketball superstar, Hank Luisetti. He's the guy who invented the one-handed shot that transformed the game.

The characters are rich and engaging, and the action moves along. Author, Mike DeLucia obviously did his homework, because the reader gets to know so much about Hank – his Italian upbringing, his passions, and his personal struggles. This riveting book not only is an excellent biography, but it's also a story of hope and following a dream. Highly recommended.