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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Harold Kelley has created this memorial to the long ago 1950's basketball teams of the coal country of eastern Kentucky and their special champions such as Johnny Cox and "King" Kelly Coleman. The photographs of old gymnasiums of the area of eastern Kentucky, some of which are long demolished or converted into part of schools or offices, will draw the reader into this book. On page 13, the author writes: "So why did basketball become so important in Kentucky, especially the southeastern part? A simple explanation is that in order to have a game, one needs only five players on a team, a hoop of some kind and a court, either inside or out ... Many have said that there simply wasn't much to do in these towns and the roads were so bad they couldn't go anywhere else, so basketball it was."
"Legacies of Kentucky Mountain Basketball: Champions and Palaces of the Mid-1950's" is a photographic journey that will entice readers even if they live in urban areas. It is a tribute to what was and the author has covered in detail every gymnasium and the town in which it was located. The old gyms made of stones from nearby quarries and all the photos are beautifully captured and the author writes of each very well and concisely. The index at the end is well-organized and the biographies of Kentucky mountain basketball greats will impress readers and answer their questions of "what happened to..?" "Legacies of Kentucky Mountain Basketball" is a photo-journey that readers will treasure.