by Paul Shirley
"NBA games are long. Really long. There are all kinds of breaks in the action, mainly of the media time-out variety, so there is plenty of standing around. Granted, I should probably be, oh, paying attention to what the coach is drawing up during these time-outs, but they are so long and frequent that even the coaches run out of things to say. It is at these times especially that I need a partner in crime -- someone who will see the humor in the fact that the poor girl in the dance contest being shown on the scoreboard screen is merely a prop for the obvious eventual winner, the middle-aged fat guy who lifts his shirt over his head to expose the world to his man-pregnancy. I need someone who will not be afraid to rate members of the dance team in descending order of the most realistic breast implants. I need someone who will help me keep track of my NBA All-Ugly Team. Most of the people who play think they actually need to concentrate on the games, so they cannot be bothered with my attempts at self-entertainment." (Can I Keep My Jersey?, pp. 277-78)
I know most of my readers will not be interested in this book, but those who have been with me awhile know of my love for my Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team. (Go Wolves!!) Well, training camp starts next week, and I am pumped for the new season to begin! To get a little fix before hand I decided to read Paul Shirley's Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond. Most people have probably never heard of him. He's the guy generally playing overseas or spending most of his NBA minutes on the bench cheering on his famous team mates. I heard of him when he was a member of the Timberwolves training camp a couple seasons ago. He was released before the season started. Apparently things haven't changed much for him since he wrote this book.
He has, however, managed to channel the frustration of his career into a hilarious piece of work! He knows that even when things are awful he has an amazing job compared to most people, but he presents the unglamorous side of professional basketball in a manner that had me laughing out loud every other page. His cynicism and sarcasm can wear on the reader after a hundred pages or so, but the truth is the guy is really, really funny. He would have to have a stellar sense of humor to put up with some of the people and situations which make up his unsettled existence. This is a must read for basketball fans, a fun read for the general sports fan, and a riotous change-up for readers looking for something a little different for the Dewey Decimal System Reading Challenge. :-)
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!