ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — John McNamara’s friends and colleagues stood beside his widow Saturday, thanking her for publishing 319 pages of his work.

“This was John’s love letter to basketball, and finishing it was my love letter to John,” Andrea Chamblee, McNamara’s wife of 33 years, said.

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It was a work McNamara had devoted over a decade of his life to, and on the brink of finishing it, he and four others were shot and killed after a gunman opened fire on journalists at the Capital Gazette.

“John had been writing this book in his head since he was 14-years-old,” Chamblee said.

She knew it was a story that had to be told.

“When I walked into his den and saw the boxes and saw how far he had gotten, I knew I could help make sure he was remembered as a sports writer,” Chamblee said.

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Many writers and critics call the book an amazing account of history through hoops, praising McNamara for his expertise and dedication to the story.

“Now the stories get told and it’s a real book,” Chamblee said. “It’s a real book about real people, and stories and heartbreak and triumph. I think he would be in awe.”

The book discusses 100 years of high school basketball in Washington D.C. and the impact those teams have made in American history.

Chamblee said she only wrote the first chapter, and a close friend of McNamara’s helped her finish it.

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She said the rest of the work is all McNamara’s.

Rachael Cardin