The Spencer Haywood Rule
The Spencer Haywood Rule

The Spencer Haywood Rule

Battles, Basketball, and the Making of an American Iconoclast
By Marc J. Spears, By Gary Washburn


240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Cloth, $28.00 (CA $38.00) (US $28.00)

ISBN 9781629377766

Rights: WOR

Triumph Books (Oct 2020)


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Hall of Famer, Olympic gold medalist, NBA Champion, MVP, and All-Star could all be used to describe the illustrious career of Spencer Haywood on the hardwood
From picking cotton in rural Mississippi to the historic 1968 Olympics to ABA MVP to the battle with the NBA that would go all the way to the Supreme Court and change the league forever, Spencer Haywood#&39;s life has been a microcosm of 20th century sports and culture.

One of the most dominant big men of his era, Haywood burst onto the international scene with a revelatory performance at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Yet, while his basketball career was just beginning back in that summer of ’68, it was only one notable moment in the extraordinary and fateful life of the big man from Silver City, Mississippi. Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated and Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tell the remarkable story of a man who was born into indentured servitude in rural Mississippi, and all of the unbelievable trials, tribulations, successes, failures, and redemptions that followed.

Haywood would go on to be the ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, but his triumphs on the court are only part of the legend. His winding journey off the court saw him challenge the NBA’s draft-entry rules and win at the Supreme Court level; run in New York City high-fashion circles in the mid-1970s with his then-wife, supermodel Iman; and bottom out with alcohol and drug addiction during the infancy of the Showtime Lakers dynasty. Spears and Washburn explore how Haywood’s impact was felt throughout the NBA and in society at large—and still is to this day—culminating in Haywood’s inspiring second act as an advocate for current and retired NBA players alike.


“Marc Spears and Gary Washburn tell this story beautifully.” LA Times 

“An important book on an under-appreciated Black athlete.” —Kevin Merida, The Undefeated 

“If you are a basketball fan, you should be aware of Spencer Haywood’s immense historical importance. If you’re not aware, you should be. In either case you should read Gary and Marc’s book.” —Bob Ryan, The Boston Globe 

“Haywood’s frank personality takes center stage, and he movingly talks about racism on and off the court.” Publishers Weekly 

Author Biography

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for ESPN#&39;s The Undefeated. He is the co-producer of the documentary Katrina Cop In The SuperdomeGary Washburn is the National NBA writer for The Boston Globe. He also serves as the Vice President, Print for the NABJ Sports Task Force.

Book Signings

Past Events

Marc J. Spears and Gary Washburn's "The Spencer Haywood Rule" ›
New York, NY
Authors Marc J. Spears and Gary Washburn will be joined by Spencer Haywood for a virtual event for their book, "The Spencer Haywood Rule," hosted by