“A walk in the woods never lies,” Dirk Dunbar says up-front in Confessions of a Basketball Junkie, and this autobiography by the pro athlete, humanities professor, musician and sometime mystic demonstrates the point. In easygoing, familiar language that belies the depth of his knowledge, Dunbar here retraces the many paths of his life as a promising NBA star, a finely tuned philosopher, and a devoted friend and family man. What you take away from this book are not just recollections of his walk through life and depictions of sung and unsung athletes and friends, but a startling ebullience of spirit, an appreciation of life in all its flower, and an unflagging sense of hopeful good humor—even during the darkest days of career-altering injuries. As if that’s not enough in a book, you also get accessible explanations of the Earth-centered philosophies that have shaped a real life. Confessions of a Basketball Junkie is a saunter (to use a word played upon by Thoreau) through the woods of the human spirit at its everyday, and sometimes buzzer-beating best.
–Dana Wilde, author of The Other End of the Driveway: Observations in the Maine Woods, Columnist Central Maine: Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel
I was at the basketball game in the Cadillac High School gym the night Dirk Dunbar scored 65 points. My dad, an avid high school basketball fan, had come up from Flint to see for himself if this kid from Cadillac was everything I said he was. As memory serves, I recall that the opponent played a 2-3 zone and Dunbar just stopped at the top of the key and drained jumper after jumper. At the half he had 42 points, and (mind you) this was before there was a three-point line. My dad and I were sure there would be an adjustment made at halftime to at least bother Dunbar a bit. Nope. Same song, second verse. He finished with 65, but it could have been 100 if Coach Don Johnson had not shown some mercy for the other team and benched him for most of the fourth quarter. There is no doubt that Dirk Dunbar was the greatest basketball player in the history of Cadillac High. He was All-State and All-American twice and led the nation in scoring his senior year (38.5 average). Later, as a star at Central Michigan, an NBA career seemed like a sure lock, until a catastrophic knee injury led to a “course correction.” In a new book, “Confessions of a Basketball Junkie,” Dunbar takes us along on a journey of discovery. As he notes in the book regarding that injury: “The injury hit with a force that made me confront my shadow, to face impulses suppressed by the culturally conditioned drives that fashioned my values, convictions and personality.” As I dove into “Confessions,” I soon realized that you don’t “read” Dirk Dunbar but rather you “absorb” Dirk Dunbar. This is a book that causes you to pause along the way to examine ideas and philosophies and think thoughts you may not have considered before. The press release about the book states: “Filled with poetry and athletic anecdotes, mystical and humorous experiences, and truth-seeking explorations into our local and planetary purpose, this extraordinary memoir affirms the grandeur of being at home in the universe. All this while recapping a phenomenal, yet injury filled basketball career that is captivating, painful, and inspiring.” In basketball terms, much like Dunbar’s game, shots are coming at you from all angles.
Complete Cadillac News Article: HERE
–Jim Neff, editorial page columnist for the Cadillac News newspaper and the Neffzone
Dirk Dunbar’s Confessions of a Basketball Junkie is a moving tale filled with great passion about the life and times of an athlete and philosopher. Besides the engaging joys and frustrations described on and off the basketball court, the scholarly theories and perspectives are presented in a very thorough and academically grounded manner. Dunbar offers readers a lot to consider and presents us with a wealth of information as well as the twists and turns involving life’s journey that I am certain others will relate to, learn from, and enjoy reading about. It is obvious the author has spent years studying and researching, and countless hours of pouring over a lifetime of notes, journals, and experiences. The material is presented in a way that anyone can understand and appreciate. The fusion of personal experience, poetry, and academic theory is provocative, uplifting, and offers everything a sincere memoir should. I especially enjoyed the chapter entitled The Seaside, Solitude and Soul Searching, but also connected with the author’s time in high school. The narrative voice is convincing—very familiar and easy to follow. I am convinced that this remarkable work, meticulously put together, will be well received by a wide audience. So I say to you, good reading!
–Larry Gray, author and Manuscript Review Specialist
When I started reading Confessions of a Basketball Junkie (having been enlisted as a proofreader), I was immediately impressed with the diction, how spotless the text was, the flow and evenness of the chapter lengths, and the way the folksy talk was integrated with historical/cultural insights and tender poems. Two chapters further and I knew this has to be published. The story is great! I could not wait for following chapters. Then I read chapter five and—with a lump in my throat, a hole in my heart, and tears in my eyes—could only say, “Bravo.” As the text and the author’s life turned toward his studies, I realized his true genius. Besides the beauty of his writing, I was struck by his ability to synthesize his research and insights into a coherent philosophy that not only guides his life, but is also sure to inspire his readers. I love this book—it’s brilliant! One of its amazing attributes is the consistent mix of basketball, philosophy, and personal anecdotes. You cannot help but learn something important about life, love, religion, politics, and human nature in every chapter. It’s an amazing adventure and is right here for anyone to share. Again, I love it!
— Patricia Taylor, author, artist, and educator
A masterful memoir and thoroughly delightful read, Dirk Dunbar’s Confessions of a Basketball Junkie evokes the joy of childhood, memories of growing up, and the values and challenges of a living a well-examined life! From remarkably relatable experiences that traverse the culture and “feel” of his small Northern Michigan birthplace to people and places in Iceland, Germany, and Egypt and back to Maine and Florida, Dunbar captures the wisdom of Native Americans and Daoists as well as offering unique insights into contemporary literature, film, and music. All this while recapping a phenomenal and yet trying, injury filled basketball career that is intriguing, painful, and inspiring. I confess that I laughed, cried, and, most of all, celebrated all the life-affirming perspectives. The ideas are big, but simply and profoundly expressed. I believe this book is sure to touch athletes, incite seekers, and enthrall human-interest readers worldwide.
–Deborah Dunbar, artist and educator