This may be the most far-reaching basketball book I have ever read. Wolff chronicles the game's impact and value in such disparate locations such as a modernizing China, the backwaters of Eastern Europe, and even within Bill Bradley's aborted 2000 presidential campaign!
Since the author visits such a long list of out-of-the-way places, you would expect his prose or reporting to suffer as the book progresses. Rather, Wolff keeps the story light and full of offbeat humor, while using his sharp skills to sniff out a story. For example, the author learns much about the Phillippines' national league and even meets the country's greatest player. Yet he is not satisfied with basketball's role in the country until he wanders the streets and unearths the tale of a local's fight to build a community court.
The story is broken down into epsiodes, as Wolff devotes each chapter to one of his stops. This makes it easy, should a particular subject or country interest you, to read the book slightly out of order. Yet the author does tie together many of his threads, and makes Big Game, Small World an informative look at the ways the game of basketball is shaping (and being shaped by) the world, as well as doubling as a minor commentary on many countries' natures and traditions.