Author Barry S. Martin will be coming to South Orange this Friday, Sept. 23, as a part of Seton Hall Weekend to discuss his new book on Seton Hall’s first sports All-American, Bob Davies.
The book, Bob Davies: A Basketball Legend, is a publication eight years in the making on the basketball superstar that started his career in South Orange. The publication uses photos, archival materials and personal interviews to tell Davies’ story. In the book, Martin discusses how Davies was one of the first three NBA superstars, and goes through his life and career history.
“Growing up I watched Bob Davies play for the NBA Rochester Royals,” Martin told The Setonian. “After I retired, I thought about writing a team history. When research revealed Davies was considered the first superstar of modern professional basketball, I realized that his life story would make a better book.”
On the back cover of his book, Martin writes that Davies is “credited with introducing the behind-the-back-dribble, developing the penetration styles of play, and creating several innovative passes.” Davies was also named by Sports Illustrated as one of the eight most influential players in the first century of basketball, and the NBA selected him as one of the 10 best players in its first quarter century.
Martin was not a Seton Hall fanatic at the start, but he learned to love Pirate basketball through his favorite players.
“[I was a Seton Hall basketball fan] indirectly, because former Pirates Bob Davies, Bob Wanzer, Pep Saul, and Richie Regan, were Royals,” Martin said.
In order to write the book, Martin needed help to fill in Davies’ history, and for that he reached out to Seton Hall’s special collections librarian, Alan Delozier.
“A number of years ago Barry contacted me about the biography he was planning to write on Bob Davies and [I] was excited to learn about the project because I knew only the basics about his basketball career and thought this would be an important work for those unfamiliar with his remarkable life on the court and beyond,” Delozier said.
Delozier has extended Martin’s book and Davies to Seton Hall, as he made a window display outside underneath the library by the TLTC display.
“The display is inspired by Barry’s book and based in large measure on the time period when Bob Davies was on campus with a particular emphasis on the 1940-41 season when he led Seton Hall to their first post-season tournament (National Invitational Tournament Semi-Finals) and the 1941-42 season when he was named a consensus All-American,” Delozier said. “Each of the items exhibited in this display are from the Archives & Special Collections Center.”
Having read the book, Delozier favors a certain part that focuses on Davies’ home school.
“I have read the book and the entire work is well-researched and superbly written,” Delozier said.
“Knowing the attention to detail that Barry put into the process and in experiencing his past writings, it was a pleasure to read. My bias is with the pages that cover his Seton Hall years, but the entire book is an enjoyable read from start to finish.”
Those interested in hearing Martin talk about his book and Davies, his discussion will be held in the team film room in the Richie Regan Athletic Center on Friday, Sept. 23 from 4 to 5 p.m.
“I look forward to hearing Barry talk about what he personally found most interesting about Bob Davies and sharing his own personal commentary,” Delozier said. “This will be an exciting event as there is nothing like learning about the creative process and passion that an author brings to their own work.”
On the back cover, Martin describes Davies as “a rarity in American sports history – a genuine sports hero and role model.” From reading his book, Martin wants his readers to take just that.
“Despite so many famous athletes disappointing us with their personal conduct, there have been and always will be sports heroes who are genuine role models.”
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eswint22.