Author Neal Pollack's new novel inspired by history of Jews in basketball

(courtesy photo)

The author of the humor memoirs “Alternadad,” “Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude” and recently self-published “Jewball,” a novel based on the adventures of Jewish basketball leagues in the 1930s, will appear at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center today at 7 p.m.

What inspired you to write a book about a historic Jewish basketball team?
I belong to a Jewish cultural organization called Reboot. At our yearly summit, a bunch of us were sitting around in the steam room talking about Jewish sports, and the topic of basketball came up. I’d heard of [Boston Celtics coach] Red Auerbach and [NBA coach] Larry Brown, but I didn’t know about the Jewish basketball league and how dominant it was. When I did some research, it captured my attention.

What made you decide to self-publish “Jewball”? My agent wanted to give it a try because the technology is there. We both knew this book probably wasn’t going to garner a massive advance. Plus, I have a very DIY attitude toward life and my career, so it seemed like the time is right.

What happened to all the Jewish basketball teams?
There are still some Jews on the court. There’s a lot of Jewball being played at the JCCs. Jews love basketball and they always have. It seems to be in our blood.

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