The true story of a college basketball team, the City College Beavers, who carried an era's brightest hopes--racial harmony, social mobility, and the triumph of the underdog--but whose success was soon followed by a shocking downfall.
... wonderful ... Goodman's book is a fascinating look at a team full of talented young men who torpedoed their careers because they were unable to resist the lure of easy money ... Goodman does a wonderful job recounting the Beavers' games — fans of the game will find much to love in his play-by-play descriptions of CCNY's march to the championships, but you don't need to be a hardcore basketball fan to keep up ... He also proves to be excellent at providing historical context for the scandal ... Goodman doesn't let the players off the hook, but writes about them with a real sympathy: They were essentially kids who paid a harsh price for making admittedly poor decisions, he argues ... The CCNY point-shaving scandal remains, decades after it happened, a heartbreaking story of venality, and Goodman turns out to be the perfect author to tell it. The City Game is a gripping history of one of college basketball's darkest moments, an all too human tale of young people blowing up their futures in a misguided attempt to make good.
Goodman not only chronicles the point-shaving scam that eventually brought down the team, but he also provides a richly detailed portrait of mid-twentieth-century New York City ... Goodman follows the principals through their lives, even interviewing their children. This is a marvelous, vibrant recounting of a bit of sports history in which the backdrop of New York dominates.
Matthew Goodman’s historical account of City College is far more than descriptions of games played in Madison Square Garden and other arenas. He takes readers to the halls of governments; New York City courtrooms; backrooms, where bookies and gamblers plied their trade; and police stations, where willing officers were paid to look away from gambling activities. It is a story both inspiring and upsetting, and is told with skill, insight and deep understanding of time and place ... Goodman’s descriptions of these games are riveting ... Goodman’s stirring history reminds us that athletic success often comes at a price. His story of greed and exploitation in college sports one-half century ago is as relevant today as ever.