The Punch

  • by John Feinstein
  • Narrated by Richard M. Davidson
  • 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tearing open the deepest wound in professional sports, Feinstein uncovers the secrets of the NBA before and after that fateful moment in December of 1977 when the face of professional hoops was changed forever. It was a chilly December evening and the Los Angeles Coliseum was buzzing as the Lakers hosted the Houston Rockets. As two players, Houston's Rudy Tomjanovich and LA's Kermit Washington were warming up, they were unaware their lives were about to be destroyed. The game began and as Tomjanovich trailed a play up the court, a small skirmish broke out between Washington and another Rocket player. Dropping the ball, Tomjanovich approached the tussling men hoping to break up the fight and resume the game. But instead, his face met the powerful fist of Kermit Washington. The punch, so brutal on impact, left most of the bones in Tomjanovich's face broken and spinal fluid leaking from cracked vertebrae. Although he nearly died, Tomjanovich recovered from his injuries. But his game was never the same. After a two month suspension, Washington retook the court but had lost his touch. His snap reaction had irrevocably killed two careers, and the way the NBA played basketball forever.


What the Critics Say

"Feinstein has done a great job." (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly)
"Feinstein tells a moving story....Feinstein's research is sharp, and his time line jumps around effortlessly, like a good Quentin Tarantino film.....Feinstein's portrait of each man is compelling; neither is lionized or demonized. Rather, the complexity of the incident and the depth of the personal trauma for both Tomjanovich and Washington fester under the author's microscope in this excellent and engaging book." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Needs tons of editing

An interesting book, however if you read the reviews at any of the on-line bookstores, you'll hear the same complaint: this book dramatically needs editing. It is understandable that the author will view the incident from multiple angles, but the simple repetition of the same quotes, and near exact passages of text render this a frustrating listen. With better organization, this book could have been 1/2 the length and twice as good.
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- Michael Walsh

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-22-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books