The Cover of Shea Serrano's New Book Is Insane

Shea Serrano, a writer at The Ringer, and author of The Rap Year Book, put the phrase, "never judge a book by its cover" to the test. After a long, petty-driven standoff with Amazon, Serrano finally dropped the cover of his newest project, Basketball (and Other Things).

Through an extensive marketing campaign that includes not really doing anything except tweeting, and that's it, Serrano has gotten BAOT to the top of Amazon's Sports Humor Best Seller list. That's right. There's not even a cover for the book that isn't released until October 10th, and its already been bought more than any other book in the Sports Humor category.

No cover, no problem

Anyway, the cover is ludicrous. Let's break it down:


"Illustrated by Arturo Torres"

Torres illustrated Serrano's The Rap Yearbook. He is good at illustrating. A good example of this would be the cover of BAOT (above).

"Foreword by Reggie Miller"

Reggie Miller once said on a broadcast of a Pelicans and Warriors game, "Davis is starting to recognize, 'you know what? I might be the best player on the floor,' no pun intended, Steph Curry."

I hope there are more gems like this in the foreword.

Magic Johnson boxing out a bear

On the scale of murderous animals, bears are vastly underrated. We can only assume the same could be said for their low-post presence. However, this is an undeniable fact -- Magic Johnson helped the Lakers win the 1980 NBA Finals by starting at center in Game 6. A bear has never done that. Advantage: Johnson.

LeBron James

Whenever BAOT inevitably mentions the 2016 NBA Finals I will surely throw my copy out a window.

Larry Bird wearing his warm-up shirt

Bird won the famous 1988 three-point contest wearing his warm-up shirt. Although on this cover he doesn't look like he's getting ready to shoot a three as much as he's getting ready to run over and punch Tim Duncan. Punching Tim Duncan is definitely a flagrant two, but it is also probably the best possible defense against prime Tim Duncan.

Scott Howard

Since it is arguably the greatest basketball film of all-time (don't @ me), it makes sense Teen Wolf would get some shine. How many jokes has Scott Howard-Cooper gotten about his name and being a basketball writer in his life? My guess is 37.

Magic-era Shaq

Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway could have run the Association. Penny's career being derailed by injuries is one of the worst things to ever happen to the NBA.

A giant squid


What appears to be Hannibal Lecter in basketball shorts and sneakers?


Tim Duncan

Notice Duncan awaiting a pass from a dunking Dr. J. Timmy sees the contest coming and wants the ball because passing up a good shot for a great shot is always the right basketball play.

Given Serrano's Spurs fandom, I sort of expected the cover to just be an illustration of Tim Duncan

Julius Erving dunking

It's a little-known fact that if you write a book about basketball, the United States Constitution requires you to, in some way, mention Dr. J dunking.

Michael Jordan, in full warm-up attire, contesting a Dr. J dunk

It would be peak MJ to run up on a pickup game he isn't playing in to try and block someone's shot. Although I feel like the most unrealistic thing about this book cover is the fact that MJ isn't wearing oversized acid-washed jeans and a backwards Kangol.


Whew! There's a lot going on there, but I think we covered it all. If we are going to, in fact, judge a book by its cover, Basketball (and Other Things) is sure to entertain.

I'm personally hoping for a whole chapter on how Magic Johnson might attack a bear in the low-post.

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