Main Street Books is pleased to welcome Davidson men’s basketball associate head coach Matt McKillop to the store for a discussion with his former Davidson teammate Ian Johnson about Johnson’s forthcoming memoir, The Bounce and the Echo.
Pittsburgh native Ian Johnson played high school basketball at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy alongside Carmelo Anthony, played four years of Division I basketball at Davidson College and five years of professional basketball in Europe. He won multiple championships and a large number of personal accolades along the way, but Ian spent his career living a double life, both as a committed athlete who thrived on competition and as a skeptical observer who struggled to accept that he was devoting his soul to a game. Ian was a small-time star in a cutthroat system, yet also an unwitting cog, his outward personality indentured to a sport, a fact he didn’t fully understand until he tried to walk away from the game at the age of 27.
Basketball aside, Ian realized how little he knew about both himself and the sport that had run his life, assuming there was a difference. The Bounce and the Echo is the story of his attempt to discover himself anew and his venture to find peace with a game he so badly wanted to love. From Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 to the gold medal game at the Rio Olympics in 2016, from Cameron Indoor Stadium to a tiny Indian village in the Himalayas, from youth basketball leagues in Pittsburgh to the howling arenas of Europe, The Bounce and The Echo traces the history of basketball from its inception through its many current iterations. In it, Ian unsparingly and unflinchingly lays bare his own story, from his suicide attempts in college to hanging with a young Stephen Curry, from the haunting depths of an obsessive-compulsive mindset to the insatiable joys of competition, and, finally, from the fog of confusion into the sting of clarity. The Bounce and The Echo is a history of basketball told through vulnerable self-reflection, presenting a story for every athlete who has ever picked up a ball and wondered why.