I think the best stories in the world are the ones you’d never expect. Leave it to Ken Abraham to keep finding true stories that absolutely must be told.

Dave Ramsey
New York Times best-selling author
Nationally syndicated radio show host


More Than Rivals is my kind of story, and being of the same age as Eddie, Bo and Bill, I can so relate to it from my own childhood… I love the mental imagery of all the relations from family and church, and I love the friendship between Eddie and Bill… POWERFUL. Very well written.

Mark White
Tennessee State Representative


I integrated the athletic program at Transylvania University in 1964 with the signing of Robert Berry, and the University of Alabama program in 1969-1970 with the signing of Wendell Hudson, so when 1970 began, I had more than a casual interest in the program emerging in Gallatin, Tennessee. The More Than Rivals story, well-written by Ken Abraham, tells of two divergent communities coming together, and the part basketball played in this event when Eddie Sherlin, representing the “white” community, and Bill Ligon, representing the “black” community came into the game. More Than Rivals offers a most rewarding reading experience. You are taken back in time to witness the nostalgia of small town America and the struggles of the segregated South. I strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of No Slam Dunk and that you make it an immediate read. It is truly an outstanding story and shows me that Eddie and Bill (now adult friends) continue to have an important role in the lives of children and youth in Gallatin and throughout the New South.

Charles Martin “C.M.” Newton
Former basketball coach at Transylvania University, the University of Alabama, and Vanderbilt University
Athletic director at the University of Kentucky (1989-2000)
Chair of the NCAA Rules Committee (1992 – 1999)


After reading More Than Rivals, I cannot say enough good things about the book. It was an easy read, engaging, and very accurate based on the time frame referenced.  I lived through those awkward times, often feeling helpless because as a teenager I had no voice.  I was unable to make the adults around me see how wrong they were, even some of my own family members.  Fortunately, I attended a Catholic school and we were integrated from my primary years, but seeing those horrible times firsthand during the sixties was difficult for me to endure. Thankfully, this beautiful story had a happy ending unlike a lot of the real life stories I lived through. Thank you for writing this lovely story.  I wish you much success.

Gayle Hoots
Nashville, Tennessee


I hoped that “Grandpa” would be a courtly kind-natured gentleman.  He wasn’t.  I hoped Gallatin would actually be Mayberry.  It wasn’t.  I wish America had been what it could have been, but she wasn’t either.  More Than Rivals holds a candle with true light to a dark place we wish had never been. But while it shares a painful journey, it hints at a promise of the silver lining within the cloud, an engrossing history lesson where spiritual redemption, sports, the power of music, leadership and brotherhood can bring young men and their town to an important crossroads.  An informative and engrossing read that grabbed me in the first pages and never let me go.

Catkin Kilcher Burton
Colonel US Marine Corps  (Retired)
Vice Chair,  Alaska Humanities Forum  Board of Directors
CEO, Eagles’ Enterprises, LLC
Homer, Alaska


Dick and I played high school basketball in Indiana in the 60s, so More Than Rivals brought back many great memories for us.  We loved the diversity of sports and loved playing, traveling, and living with teammates of different color.  If everyone would love like that, in spite of differences in skin color, it would be a better world.  The players accepted and loved and appreciated each other.  Most of all, we understood each other. The relativity of the blending of sports and race relations is more important today than ever before.  More Than Rivals gives the reader a little of both sides.

Tom & Dick Van Arsdale
Indiana University All-Americans
12-Year NBA Players
Each were three time NBA All-Stars
Careers spanned 1957-1977


I highly recommend More Than Rivals, the bittersweet true story that transcends the game of basketball and shines a beautiful light into the dark history of racial division and discord in America by illuminating the harmonious power of love and mutual respect. More Than Rivals warmed my heart, brought tears full of joy and pain to my eyes, inspired me and made me even more grateful to Bill Ligon for paving the way for me through the hug that changed the world!

Charles Davis
Charles Davis Foundation, President
Nashville, TN
Former Vanderbilt and N.B.A. Basketball Player


A riveting true story of friendship between two boys… one black, one white… from the racially polarizing years of the deep south. This book will inspire and touch the hearts of young and old alike.

Roscoe Orman
Actor, entertainer and for 40 years has been the resident father figure Gordon on “Sesame Street”


Simple, direct, and powerful. This is a story about how human kindness and understanding transformed a community. Their act of kindness helped the community heal and transcend into
a better, more inclusive town in the heart of America. A story of compassion that survives the decades of time … and the eternal truth that in the end, love wins.
Add More Than Rivals to your library!

Jack E. Pattison
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
United States Army (Retired)
President and Owner, Pattison Enterprises LLC
Atlanta, GA


More Than Rivals, book that is based on a true story from the 1960s, allowed me to reflect on how far we have come in this country and how far we still have to go. This book will make you laugh, cry and also inspire many to get to know people that don’t look like them or come from their same background. Unity is what will bring us together as a people, if we just take time to reach out and get to know others from a different race. I have learned over the years that real friendships are not based on the color of your skin, but the love and respect you have for one another. No Slam Dunk is a must read for adults and teens.

Yolanda Conley Shields
CEO, Let’s Go Innovate and Author of Letters To Our Sons