FARGO – Shawn Fury dreams basketball. That's not surprising for someone who has spent the better part of the last few years immersing himself in the sport while writing a book about the history and evolution of the jump shot.
In fact, the premise for the book came to him, he said, in a dream.
"I dream about basketball all the time," Fury said last week. "... During one of my dreams, I thought there should be a book about the jump shot. And I wrote it down, and I revisited it after a little while."
The result of that dream is the author's second book, titled "Rise and Fire", which examines how the jump shot "transformed basketball forever." It hits stores Tuesday.
He said while the idea for his latest book came in a dream, a lot of work went into making it a reality. Fury says about 3 ½ years elapsed between the time he came up with the idea and having it sold to a publisher.
One of the inspirations behind "Rise and Fire" was a 2010 baseball book by Tim Wendel titled "High Heat", which looked at the secret history of the fastball.
"He was trying to find the fastest pitcher in baseball history. The history of the fastball," said Fury, 40, who lives in New York City but spent three years as a sports copy editor at The Forum. "I really liked how he was able to take that one specific play and write about all things in baseball history."
So Fury applied much of that to his focus on the jump shot and how it has revolutionized basketball dating back to the game's primitive past.
"The most enjoyable thing was just the research itself," Fury said. "Just basketball in the 1930s and 1940s. Just looking through old newspaper archives.
"I'd be looking for an old jump shooter in 1935 and find five other stories. ... There's something in the book on in 1950 "Sports Illustrated" ran this poll whether basketball was more boring now than in the 1930s after the introduction of the one-handed jumper. It quotes Joan Crawford of all people."
Included in the book are interviews with Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West and former high school basketball star Bobby Plump, whose Indiana state title-winning team in 1954 was the inspiration to the movie "Hoosiers."
One of the most exciting parts, Fury said, was getting a promotional line from Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. On the book's cover, Krzyzewski says, "('Rise and Fire') is about one shot, but every basketball fan will enjoy it.' "
So far, Fury has been pleased with the reviews "Rise and Fire" has received.
"A few publications have done reviews, and they've mostly been pretty positive," Fury said. "The reception has been pretty good."