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MinnPost Picks: on the NBA erasing history, prison abolition and HBO’s ‘Station Eleven’

Our weekly roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

An NBA 75th anniversary ball
An NBA 75th anniversary ball
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

How the NBA’s 75th anniversary sweeps away its early history, Washington Post

The National Basketball Association is commemorating its 75 anniversary but Curtis Harris of the Washington Post argues that the league leaves out the history and the stats of the older league that was half of the merger that produced the NBA. That would be the National Basketball League that formed in 1937 and was the first home league of the Minneapolis Lakers and other franchises like the Oshkosh All-Stars, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons and the New York Renaissance, a team made up of Black players. Only after stealing four teams from the NBL, the Lakers included, was the Basketball Association of America even viable. After the merger it kept its own stats and championships and erased the NBL’s.
—Peter Callaghan, state government reporter

For Angela Davis and Gina Dent, Abolition Is the Only Way, Harper’s Bazaar

Angela Y. Davis and Gina Dent talk about how their new book, “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” came to be and how they think about these movements.
—Jonathan Stegall, user-experience engineer

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Station Eleven, HBO

Tanner CurlI read (and loved) the novel Station Eleven when it came out in 2014. Written by Emily St. John Mandel, the story revolves around a pandemic flu that swiftly kills 99.99 percent of the world’s population. Much of the action occurs 20 years after this apocalyptic event and follows a group of survivors who travel around the Great Lakes performing Shakespeare to the small communities that have formed. Over the last month, HBO Max released a limited series adaptation — 10 episodes total — and even though I loved the book, I didn’t know if I had the heart to watch a story about a pandemic while living through a real-life pandemic, especially as the omicron variant broke global case count records. But I’m so glad I did. The series changes some significant character and story details from the novel, but in a lot of ways provides an even deeper exploration of what it means to move forward from trauma and how central stories, art, and community play are to that process. While certain parts, particularly in the first two episodes, were hard to watch while living through COVID-19, I found the series moving and hopeful.
—Tanner Curl, executive director

The Unfamiliar Garden by Benjamin Percy

I hate to turn this into apocalyptipicks, but I had so much fun reading the second installment in Benjamin Percy’s Comet Cycle that I have to recommend it here. The Unfamiliar Garden takes place in the same world as The Ninth Metal and deals with the aftermath of Earth passing through the debris of a comet’s tail and finding itself … changed. The plots in both of  Percy’s books are informed by real world issues — in Metal, it was mining in northern Minnesota, in Garden, pandemics like COVID — but avoid excessive moralizing and are at heart solid, and solidly entertaining, science fiction novels. The third book in the cycle, The Sky Vault, is due out this summer.
—Tom Nehil, news editor