Read Can I Keep My Jersey?: Eleven Teams, Six Years, Five Countries, and My So-called Career as a Professional Basketball Player by Paul Shirley Chuck Klosterman Online


He’s been called a journeyman. Even Paul wouldn’t dispute that classification. Regardless, Bill Simmons,’s “The Sports Guy,” has said of Paul Shirley, “We could finally have an answer to the question ‘What would it be like if one of our friends was an NBA player?”There’s no denying that Paul Shirley is the closest thing pro basketball’s got to Odysseus. In HomericHe’s been called a journeyman. Even Paul wouldn’t dispute that classification. Regardless, Bill Simmons,’s “The Sports Guy,” has said of Paul Shirley, “We could finally have an answer to the question ‘What would it be like if one of our friends was an NBA player?”There’s no denying that Paul Shirley is the closest thing pro basketball’s got to Odysseus. In Homeric fashion, he has logged time practically everywhere in the roundball universe, from six NBA cities to pro leagues in Spain and Greece to North America’s pro ball Siberia, the minor leagues. Hell, he’s even played in the real Siberia. And in Can I Keep My Jersey?, Shirley finally puts down roots long enough to deliver one of the great locker-room chronicles of the modern age. With sharp elbows and an even sharper wit, Shirley–whose writings have been described as “wildly entertaining” by The Wall Street Journal–drops hilarious commentary, revealing which teams have the best cheerleaders (he’s spent many a time-out watching them ply their trade), why Christ is rapidly becoming every team’s “sixth man,” and even the best ways to get bloodstains out of your game uniform, using only an ordinary bar of soap and a hotel bathroom sink.From sharing the court with Kobe and Shaq to perusing the food court at some mall in a bush-league burg; from taking pregame layups to getting laid out by a stray knee from an NBA power forward; from hopping a limo to the team’s charter jet to dashing to catch the van home from a B-league game in Tijuana, Shirley dishes on what it’s like to try to make it as a professional athlete. Can I Keep My Jersey? is a rollicking, thoughtful, even thought-provoking insider’s look at a pro baller’s life on the fringe. Like Jim Bouton’s Ball Four or John Feinstein’s A Season on the Brink, Shirley’s odyssey deserves to find a home on every sports fan’s bookshelf....

Title : Can I Keep My Jersey?: Eleven Teams, Six Years, Five Countries, and My So-called Career as a Professional Basketball Player
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345491367
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Can I Keep My Jersey?: Eleven Teams, Six Years, Five Countries, and My So-called Career as a Professional Basketball Player Reviews

  • Lindy
    2019-05-30 07:00

    If I learned one thing from this book it's that Paul Shirley is a jerk. Despite his feeble and wholly unbelievable attempts at self-deprecation, he comes across as a pretentious douche. He is hateful without good reason in so many of the anecdotes he presents in this book. For example, at one point Shirley rants about those who make mention of his tall stature. He then writes the following: "Were these people not taught how to use their inner monologues? Yes, I am quite tall, but I know that. Any observation to that effect by others should be kept on the inside, unless the participants are willing to bear the consequences. I don't go around saying everything that is on my mind, but I could. If I did, the airways would be full of 'Well, now, that guys is an example of why they made abortion legal' and 'Why, exactly, were those two people allowed to procreate?'" I don't know that I've ever read a book written by a more condescending and judgmental author. I kept finding myself thinking that if everyone and everything in his basketball experience is so deplorable, then perhaps he should choose another career. Perhaps put good use to that engineering degree that is mentioned on so many occasions. I get it, Paul. You think you're unbelievably smart and witty and just generally better than everyone else. You'll have to forgive me if I disagree.

  • Jeramey
    2019-05-27 11:10

    Here is the skinny - if you're into basketball, and you've read a number of other basketball books, read this one. Paul Shirley is a strange character, but you gain some insight into the world of "marginal" NBA players.I can't quite figure what to make of Shirley, even after spending 300 plus pages with his thoughts. For one, he certainly tries too hard with his writing (constantly self-deprecating and pointing it out), something that could probably be fixed with more editing. Another is that he seems to casually burn every bridge he crosses, needlessly taking cheap shots at people left and right in the book. He also insults the intelligence and physical makeup of random strangers non-stop in the book, something I found a little hard to believe got published.What I gathered in the end was this, Paul is likely an interesting guy to have a beer at the bar with, but there is a 99% chance he's judging you negatively right there if you're not exactly like him, and a pretty good chance he'll mock you in future writings of his. Shirley is intelligent and appears to be insightful, he just seems to lack compassion at times, and could use heeding the advice of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all" every now and then.As far as the book itself goes, a few things come to mind. One, the absence of some characters is strange (at times it seems like he has no teammates, others they're everywhere), and ultimately it makes you wondering what he's skimming over. He randomly drops in stories about women, but they never really go anywhere, and it seems like that aspect is left out quite frequently. Three, things seem to randomly appear without much sense of the story (like how did he all the sudden own property in Kansas City?). Four, the tone definitely changes at the end when the last entries are blog posts written for ESPN, instead of pieces of his actual journal from his time abroad. More editing seems like it could have addressed these issues, and cleaned up the few typos I stumbled over.Even though Shirley himself seems to dislike the NBA (and practically everything else not blood related to him), I left the book looking for more insight into his time in the NBA.

  • Patrick
    2019-05-29 12:13

    God, Paul Shirley is an asshole. That’s literally what kept running through my mind throughout this awful, slog of a book. I’d purchased the book a while back for like a dollar on the Amazon marketplace, because I vaguely remembered Bill Simmons touting Shirley in his column back in the glory days of ESPN Page 2. I even more vaguely remembered a short-lived Shirley column on, and while I also remembered not particularly liking it (he came across as overly impressed with his own intelligence and vocabulary, which were both above average, but nothing to write home—or an column—about), I’d also heard there was some good tidbits about his NBA experience and the way he “named names” about what NBA players were really like.Color me disappointed. Shirley is a much bigger jerk than I recalled, and his “naming names” was essentially him being a giant dickhole to literally every person he came across; and most of the time it was completely unnecessary. Dennis Scott, Shareef Addur-Rahim, Stacy Augmon, Shawn Marion—the guy throws shade at everyone, even the guys he purportedly claims to like! It gets old quick. It’s like the old saying, that if you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you keep running into assholes all day, you’re the asshole. Paul Shirley seems to run into assholes wherever he goes. Imagine that.And when he’s not running into assholes, he’s complaining about something. This book is 95% Paul Shirley whining about something/being an asshole, and 5% actual interesting stories about trying to make it in the NBA. Seriously, whether it’s the weather in Russia (which he goes out of his way multiple times to say he always wanted to play, then spent his entire time there trying to get out of his contract), having to take buses to games, the intelligence level of his teammates, or some other B.S. minutia, Shirley just doesn’t stop with the misanthropic whining.And let’s talk about his “intelligence” for a second. Maybe it’s because he’s used to being around people for whom education was never a priority, but goddamn if Shirley doesn’t think he’s the smartest guy in the room wherever he goes. And the thing is, he’s not. At all. Shirley writes like a high school grad who just discovered Proust. He tries to put a fancy flourish on everything, and ends up coming across like a pathetic show-off. Actual quality writing doesn’t need to try so hard.And the racism! The way he writes, you’d think he was Jackie Robinson trying to get a fair shake in the major leagues. How many times do we have to hear how hard it is to be a white guy in the NBA. Give it a rest, pal. Seriously. And that’s not even including his numerous insensitive dickish and racist statements, ragging on people with down syndrome (“If I randomly selected a child with down syndrome, blindfolded him, and sent him to the free throw line, and told him to really try to make four free throws, I would wager that he would do better than to air-ball three of them”), the mentally handicapped (Shirley makes multiple references to “retards” and “retardation”), the physically handicapped (“If I were to add a wheelchair and subtract an arm, we might be discussing three air balls out of four attempts”), people of middle-eastern descent (“Habib the attendant…”), Indians and Native Americans (“If an Indian – dots, not feathers-- shows up…”), homosexuals (“so the nice homo at the ticket counter – I write that not as an insult but as a descriptive noun, as he was quite gay”), people named Darrell (“I even knew his name – Darrell. Poor decision by his parents.”), Hispanics (“Not Julio [in reference to a Spanish dancer]. I don’t know his actual name. Julio seems appropriate, for some reason.”), women in the United States (“the girls in Europe are better-looking than the ones in the United States, if only because they are generally thinner.”) and, for good measure, NBA fans (“I cannot believe that people are willing to pay, and pay handsomely, to watch such inanity) – that’s right, he rags on fans of the game he is desperately trying to break into for enjoying watching the game he is playing! We’re supposed to root for this clown? Give me a break.Do yourself a favor, and never, ever read this book, ever. Complete garbage written by a pretty despicable human being.

  • Kseniya Melnik
    2019-06-06 12:17

    Chockablock with moments of journalistic brilliance and hilarity. I'm not a die-hard basketball fan, but would gladly read this author's descriptions of washing the dishes or folding laundry...

  • Antonio Gomez M
    2019-05-29 05:03

    Con bastante retraso me he leído el libro de Paul Shirley. Había leído comentarios decepcionantes sobre este libro, pero a mi me ha parecido interesante y muy divertido. Cuenta todas sus andanzas por múltiples equipos, con sus grandezas y miserias, con mucha ironía y riéndose de él mismo y de todos los demás. El tono es un poco adolescente o incluso infantil (lo que es parte de la gracia del libro). Se presenta como un inadaptado en todo momento a pesar de haber circulado por un montón de países y equipos. No es un estudio sociológico, eso está claro, pero me resultó un buen libro.

  • Matthew
    2019-05-30 04:55

    Good read. In this book Paul Shirley writes about the nomadic, insecure lifestyle of trying to secure a position on an NBA team. In pursuing that dream he plays overseas and throughout the USA in 'minor leagues'. Very interesting. And Shirley's writing is filled with humor so the book feels like a quick read.My parents possibly had Suns tickets during a season Shirley played. I'll have to loan the book to them and see what they think.I'm counting this as "a book about sports" for 2016 #vtReadingChallenge

  • Todd Johnson
    2019-06-13 10:51

    Quick solid read. Feels a little disjointed towards the end when he starts including the blog postings he wrote for Other than that it was an entertaining insight into the life of a struggling professional athlete.

  • Ben
    2019-06-07 08:54

    As advertised, this is definitely an unvarnished look at the contradictory experiences of a fringe NBA player. Seemingly transcribed from Shirley's blog/diary, the writing is always breezy and off-the-cuff, though that sometimes translates to dull or unconsidered.

  • Leon Fredericks
    2019-05-19 06:02

    I enjoyed the subject matter a great deal, but I did not enjoy the book. Paul Shirley (at least, the version of Paul Shirley that wrote this book several years ago) is a totally unlikeable spoiled brat. While the stuff about being a journeyman athlete was enlightening, he treats every stop in his professional journey as the opportunity to complain about something new. Mandela didn't complain about his incarceration as much as Shirley complains about bad food, or subpar hotels, or rude teammates. This dude REALLY should have asked a love one for an HONEST opinion of this book before it was published, because I can't believe anyone would have approved of how he presents himself here.

  • Randy Brown
    2019-05-21 06:08

    A super 5-star book. But, I have to tell you I have an advantage.I coached Paul at Iowa State and know him from top to bottom. Paul is the kind of person that doesn't care about hurting some feelings; he tells it like it is. Just like he does in person. So as I say, knowing him is a huge advantage when reading his books. He's a 5-star guy and a 5-star friend.

  • Cristobal
    2019-06-07 11:08

    Humorous. While you generally want to root for the underdog, I couldn’t quite get there.

  • Kyle
    2019-05-28 05:17

    Really funny book with insight into the life of NBA players. The author has a strangely over opposition to Christianity that he drives into the ground for some reason.

  • Joe Bearden
    2019-06-09 05:49

    Basketball book about traveling the world and playing basketball. Book contains opinions you will disagree with, but also some you agree with.

  • Adam Zerner
    2019-05-28 06:07

    - Really cool to get an inside look at professional basketball life. Lots and lots of crazy stories that are interesting to know about. Being a big basketball fan, I place a lot of value on learning what it's like "on the inside".- Genuinely funny book.- Towards the middle of the book, it starts to get pretty repetitive. The author even acknowledges this; it's because it's a journal, and the same events keep happening to him. It does pick back up at times and I don't regret continuing to read the whole thing, but I think the book could have been trimmed down to 200-250 pages.

  • Reed Goodbred
    2019-05-31 05:16

    When professional basketball comes to mind you think of players playing the game but do you always remember or think of all the teams they have played on? Would you think that most players would like to stay in one place for their career? Paul Shirley would be the first guy to tell you that is not easy to stay with a NBA team with his caliber of play and playing style. For people that don’t know much about basketball the NBA is the highest and most competitive leagues in the world. Many other countries have leagues with not as good player but still having professional abilities. IF you needed to know something about a team I’m sure Paul played for them. In Paul’s career he played for 11 different professional teams. These teams were not just teams in the USA but Spain, Greece and Serbia.As a boy Paul grew up in California then moved for his high school studies. Paul was a very smart boy that had no problem making it in to college. With his very large stature Paul was a very good basketball player getting recruited by Tim Floyd at Iowa State University. Coach Tim Floyd came to find out that he did not have to use an athletic scholarship but Paul was able to receive and academic scholarship. Paul played 4 years in college making large impacts on junior and senior teams. After College was of Paul knew that playing in the NBA was something he wanted very badly!! I won’t give away the rest of his life because it is very interesting to read. Teams Shirley played for includedPanionios Athens (2001-02) Yakima Sun Kings (2002-03) Atlanta Hawks (2002-03) Joventut Badalona (2003) Kansas City Knights (2003-04) Chicago Bulls (2004) UNICS Kazan (2004) Phoenix Suns (2005) Beijing Aoshen Olympians (2005) ViveMenorca (2007-08) Unicaja Málaga (2009). “Can I Keep My Jersey?” is a book for mainly basketball players, coaches, fans, and others that enjoy sports books. The truth on many topics comes out in this book I would not recommend it for people that are not into the truth and seeing and telling things how they truly are. I found myself going back a rereading a few parts just from the humor. One of my favorite parts in this book is his man rules to a pickup game. And players and coaches would always laugh while reading it. You may ask why I chose this book. I did not only pick this book because it was about basketball but because I taught a lesson. That lesson is people sugar coat many things in our lives and our society and it’s not always the best thing to hear but it’s what’s needed. If things were just given to you they would not be as nice and this book really shows this Paul had to work for everything he got. Anyone that is looking for a good humorous sports realist book this is the one for you.

  • Derek
    2019-06-01 10:03

    I recently read through “Can I Keep My Jersey?”, the memoir of a professional basketball player named Paul Shirley, who played for several teams in the NBA, minor leagues, and Europe over the course of seven years after college. Shirley chronicles his journeys through several countries, including Siberia, as he tries to make it as a professional over the course of four years. He only played in 18 actual NBA games, but he was a member of the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns in 2005 when they made a run to the Conference Finals – albeit as the token white guy in the twelfth spot on the bench. He is referred to as a “journeyman”, meaning that he has played with a number of different teams and has been well-traveled.A number of topics arise repeatedly through Shirley’s journey, mostly relating to the challenges inherent in such a nomadic existence. The challenge of constantly changing teams and cities and the difficulty in adjusting to new environments all the time. The difficulty in having the same conversation with General Managers about how they appreciated him as a player but that they just could not offer him a spot and in not allowing his inner cynicism to escape. The constant threat and reality of impending rejection and what that did to his self-esteem and psyche in the midst of an emotional roller coaster. And, perhaps most significantly, the desire to actually do and enjoy the thing he wanted to do (ie to play basketball), despite the various impediments and detours along the way.Shirley’s memoir is interesting for the experiences he undergoes, though I did find it to be occasionally unbearably smug and self-absorbed; he does, however, continually observe that he is probably being unreasonable, but that does not necessarily make it any better to write some of those things (particularly the inclusion of some less-than-savory comments toward other people or groups of people) in the first place. Still, he did make some very interesting observations from the perspective of a twenty-something Kansan trying to make it in the big time. The few blips of immature language and self-absorption aside, Shirley’s story is worth reading for any fan of sports who wonders what it’s like for the ones who just don’t quite make it.

  • Shivesh
    2019-06-04 03:58

    Paul Shirley writes of his nomadic life as a pro basketball player in the NBA pre-season and in various European clubs. Engaging writing style and enjoyable anecdotes, but this book is really just a collection of blog posts. So you might as well print out his blog from 2002 to 2007 and read them. His writing is still very good. Shirley has the world-weary tone of a journeyman who realizes that he isn't quite good enough to hang in the NBA. But he is still one of the top 500 players in the world. It is an exclusive club, the Association. Since I am a hopeless hoop junkie, I wished for more basketball talk and less griping/whining and snarky comments. Shirley manages to insult gay people, Indian people (both dot and feather), even white guys. I don't think he meant it in a bad way, just in the typical Midwesterner ignorant manner: he simply doesn't know better. But that is why this book is so engaging. This is a Kansas farmboy who happens to be 6'10" and good at basketball and writing. And highly intelligent (he is an engineering major). All in all, it is a good combination for a basketball memoir from the sidelines of the game.Shirley's writing career really took off after he was noticed by Bill Simmons of ESPN. He encapsulated Shirley's appeal very welll: "It's as if you had a friend in the NBA and he sent you emails about his life." Shirley's observations are raw, unfiltered and mostly entertaining. He doesn't always think out how his comments or observations are going to play out for his career, but perhaps that is his nature to be forever self-deprecating and a critic of others' behavior. As much as it means to him to play in the NBA, we get the sense from this book that even Shirley knows how rare the talent and intelligence it takes to get into the Association. Shirley has the brains but not the hops.But I will give you a career tip, Paul: you may never fit into the culture you so desperately want to join. Might as well start sharpening that pencil because you will have a long writing career ahead of you if you want it. Great style - now we need more substance.

  • Scott
    2019-06-05 06:13

    I don't know why it took me so long to write a review for this, since I loved this book and I'm such a big fan of this dude's writing and all....and yet here we are. We've all read or at least seen the usual athlete biography where the protagonist rises above every obstacle to become one of the greatest in the sport (or at least really, really good), laying waste to all competition for years and years before finally riding off into either rehab or the sunset, depending. However, I'm sure at least some of you have wondered (I have, at least) what it would be like to be one of the other 98% of people who play professional sports - people who were just good enough, or almost good enough, to make it to the big time. You know, an "ordinary" MLB or NBA player. Well, if you have really esoteric interests like me, then this is the book for you. I don't remember where I saw this, but someone described this book as what you'd get if one of your buddies was good enough to make it to the NBA & decided to write about it for his friends back home. That pretty well sums it up. Shirley's book is the Ball Four of basketball. It is Hilarious, self-deprecating, and brutally honest. Highly recommended, even if you're not a big sports fan. My favorite part (and if this doesn't make you want to read it, nothing will) is probably his report on the big party held by the owner of the team he played for in Russia. Apparently there was tons of booze, but no food of any kind, for the first several hours. During this initial no-food stretch, multiple toasts were made, during which everyone was required to (of course) drink. Then, after the hours of toasts, still no food, but the strippers came out. Shortly followed by the male strippers. He then includes a note telling the reader to keep in mind that players had been encouraged to bring their families. Great stuff here.

  • Steven
    2019-06-14 05:51

    Definitely not your older brother’s book written by a current player describing life inside the NBA. Usually those books are pretty boring because the players are loathe to criticize other members of the fraternity. Paul Shirley is not afraid to rub some people the wrong way and that makes this book a much better read. One of the things that makes the NBA difficult for the average fan to watch is that there does not seem to be a lot of intensity during the average regular season matchup. I read an NY Times Magazine article once that accuratley noted that the average game is almost of secondary importance because just by being in the NBA, the average player has "made it." What is interesting about this book is that you never really get the feeling that Paul Shirley feel like he has "made it," although he is a remarkably talented basketball player, he is always on the cusp of no longer being able to keep getting paid to do this whole basketball thing. Shirley was an important member of good Iowa State teams that featured Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Fizer. Big man with a good shooting touch, Shirley is a marginal NBA player who is still nonetheless living the dream of getting paid to play professional basketball. As others have described, his humor is rather sardonic and he is quite self-deprecating, but the book is quite amusing. Some interesting aspects that I enjoyed about the book include the fact that Shawn Marion wishes he could invent something so that he could become really rich, the Chicago Bulls circa Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry had very poor chemistry, the kiss cam really is the greatest timeout distraction ever, basketball in Europe is the real deal, and the role of “religion” in the league cannot be understated. Nice fun little read.

  • Agatha Donkar
    2019-06-08 07:15

    In theory, this should have been a great book: journeyman pro basketball player details a four year period of his life, bouncing between the CBA, the European leagues, and the NBA.In practice: flat-out, Paul Shirley is a spoiled, entitled, self-centered, racist, upper-middle class white asshole. I probably would have thought he was kind of a jerk even if he hadn't, in the middle of my reading this, come out saying horrifically racist things about the tragedy in Haiti (google "Paul Shirley Haiti" and boggle at how offensive one man can be), but he did, and all I could see in this book afterwards was Shirley's dismissal of everything he considered below him. He found no adventure in living overseas, just hated that it wasn't the States; he hated, pitied, and spoke patronizingly of 90% of his teammates in American leagues, primarily those who were openly Christian and invited Shirley to things as innocuous as road trip prayer meetings.Paul Shirley basically thinks, and makes it clear in this book, that almost everyone involved in any level of professional basketball is not as awesome as he is, and I am glad that ESPN fired his racist, smug ass for his comments on Haiti. I just wish someone had told him publicly that he was a horrible human being before that, because all this book made me think was, "Damn, buddy, I'm glad I don't know you, because I'd have to punch you in the face if I did."So. Read at your own peril. I mean, if you're into reading a rich white asshole's thinly veiled racist, classist and intellectual snipes at everyone who's been more successful in pro basketball than he has.

  • Patrick McCoy
    2019-06-07 11:58

    Can I Keep My Jersey? by Paul Shirely is an interesting look at the life of a professional basketball player and is notable in the fact that most players aren't very reflective or pay much attention to detail. I guess it is informative about how the teams operate when injuries hit and how they acquire low level players to fill out rosters. I was disappointed in the lack of inside dirt on specific players-there are a few tidbits here and there, but he says very little about Steve Nash and Amare Stoudmire, even though he played most of the year with the 2005 Suns. I guess since these people are very much alive and active he had to be careful about what he says about them-so he focuses on general statements about how he doesn't really like pro basketball players and their hypocritical obsessions with religion. I would have liked to have heard more about the players he played with in Greece, Spain, and Russia, not to mention the cultures of those countries. I guess the book was mostly about his journey to realize his childhood dream of being an NBA player. But it seems as though he might not have and the most of his experiences living abroad when he dismisses all of Spanish cuisine due to some dodgy seafood-it seems suspect that he couldn't find anything good to say about Spanish cuisine. It was entertaining at times, but I felt the book could have been much more interesting had he wrote less about things that annoyed him and more about the amazing things he saw and did on his journey.

  • Jeff
    2019-05-24 07:55

    I have read several books by ex or current players and they all pretty much follow the same formula of glossing over anything that might piss somebody off that might sign a check for them someday. I love the fact that these books are almost exclusively written by a ghost rider Come on, the guy can bearly form a coherent sentence when asked "What do you think of the teams chances this year" and we are expected to believe that when he starts writing he suddenly speaks and thinks in the exact manner of a mediocre university English Lit major?This book is definitely an exception. This is obviously Paul Shirley thoughts and writing. He is a regular guy that can be sacastic and petulant or self effacing and charming. He is highly intelligent, but he is well aware of that fact and like a lot of really smart people he tends to overestimate his own acumen and underestimate others. His obvious distain for organized religion- particularly Christianity- tends to let his emotions override his reason. This secular point of view (which he seems to cling to in the same fashion as a devout Christian) is part of what makes the book so good. It is so refreshing to hear someone complain (Shirley's favoirte pastime- but he's funny) about the hypocracy inherent in sports. The oddest part is that he really doesn't talk about basketball or basketball players that much. I would have to say that not only is this the best written book by a basketball player, it is a pretty damn good book by a writer who happens to play basketball.

  • Rob
    2019-05-21 11:48

    This book is fantastic. I always love hearing about fish out of water experiences in sports. This book both gives you the experience of globe hopping around the basketball world and an inside look at what it means to be the 12th man in the NBA.The book is written in a journal/travelogue style. While that usually annoys me, this one did not. I think it has to do with the fact that this doesn't read like a blog. Paul Shirley has an eloquent writing style, that is a rare treat in an athlete written book. What I have also discovered is that most Engineers cannot write very well. So Paul Shirley has beat most stereotypes of his profession.I like how he wrote about the new ABA and all its short comings. I am glad for his career that it was early on in the mess of the new ABA. I would suspect his career would not have rebounded (no pun intended) were he in the ABA today. He would have not gone on to the Chicago Bulls from today's car crash of the ABA.The only thing this book was missing was a journal of his first season in Greece. It sounded like it was an interesting season from the little bit he mentions about it.Overall, anyone who wants to read about the life of professional basketball player that is honest and frank, this book is for you. If you are looking for some version of Hoosiers or some book that makes you think the NBA is a fantasy league that everything comes easy, this is not for you.

  • Cjsavage
    2019-06-12 10:06

    A tough call - much like three seconds in the key. He could have been on his way out or... Overall, I enjoyed Shirley's insights into basketball - a welcome softer read than the usual heady stuff that I am lumped with. As a former hardcore ball player (who always had aspirations of playing in...Europe), it was great to get back into some of the bball talk and lingo, while learning about the backroom of the professional ranks, particularly the 'employment-and-playing' relationship; I always thought that pro players just 'played', and that all that contract mumbo-jumbo was taken care of by someone else. Well, as Shirley states, it probably is, for all the one-dimensionals he is surrounded with. His insights are, at times, hit & miss: his borderline racist comments are, at times, tough to swallow (I visibly winced several times, especially the very unPC stuff about Down's, amputees and whatnot), but these rare moments are overshadowed by his clear (and completely supported by me and many others) disdain for current NBA foibles - pseudo-religious fervor, ultra-arrogance and its loss of true basketball, like the kind that Magic, Bird and the rest used to play. A tough call indeed.I'd have to give him 3.5 out of 5 with a warning about occasional off-colour text that just doesn't fit. Otherwise, well done Paul.

  • Douglas
    2019-05-20 08:04

    I was surprised to learn that Paul Shirley was a national merit scholarship finalist and got an academic scholarship to Iowa State.The book was ok. I was intrigued with learning about the life of someone striving to play in the NBA. That dream once belonged to me when I was 14, before I shelved it after highschool to eventually pursue more practical career options in finance.I think he made valiant attempts to make the book an enjoyable read, but I didn't find it too funny. I think if he focused on all the efforts he put into trying to make the team and the disappointment, then it would have roused a little more fanfare in me - not at one point throughout the book, did I really want to start cheering him on. Though there are a handful of sections that are semi-entertaining. I feel that a lot of his humor is based on sarcasm and that is hard to convey well on paper.I wouldn't really recommend this book, but I did find it interesting to learn about the players caught between the semi-pro and the NBA. He is a smart guy and I think if he used a lot more of his analysis to give us more insight on the game, I would have found that cool.

  • Mighty_k24
    2019-05-20 07:52

    In't kort: Paul Shirley is een professioneel basketspeler, maar net niet goed genoeg om het te maken in de NBA. In dagboekstijl vertelt hij over zijn wedervaren in competities in Italië (uitstekend basketbal maar onregelmatige betaling), Rusland (uitstekend basketbal, vrij regelmatige betaling, belabberde omstandigheden) en een Amerikaanse minor league (minder goed basketbal, slecht betaald maar dicht bij huis), en daartussen enkele oefenkampen en heel korte contractjes in de NBA.Mijn oordeel: Shirley schetst een heel mooi beeld van het leven van een journey-man in de basketwereld. Te goed voor Europa, net niet goed genoeg voor het echt grote werk in de NBA, met als gevolg dat hij constant moet kiezen tussen een leven van betrekkelijke financiële zekerheid ver van huis of dicht bij huis basketten voor een appel en een ei en het najagen van zijn grote droom.Shirley schrijft leuk, af en toe tongue-in-cheek, af en toe bijtend sarcasme en ironie, het lijkt wel een echte Brit. Vooral het relaas over zijn verblijf in Rusland, bij Kazan, is bij momenten hilarisch en tegelijk schrijnend.En het loopt ook goed af, want uiteindelijk krijgt hij een vast contract aangeboden bij een NBA-team, voor een volledig seizoen.Eindoordeel: ****

  • Gwen
    2019-06-16 10:00

    I normally don't read these types of books. Alright, acutally I'll honestly read anything that is in front of me, I really am a bit of a book whore; but this one is waaaay out of my league. I usually don't go for the whole whiny, "I have a talent that most people in the world only dream about and yet I'm struggling to make it as my career" thing. So I'm not really sure why I picked up this book randomly off the shelf at the bookstore this weekend.What I do know is that once I did, I could hardly put it down.I was laughing so hard from the beginning right through to the end. I totally love the way that the way the Shirley dealt with his repeated disapoinments was his sarcasm. I couldn't help but thinking, "I totally would have hung out with him if I was stuck playing for a basketball team in Siberia."So if you want to get a bit of an outsider's insider's point of view of how to not get into the NBA, read this book. If you want to laugh until you well, shatter your kidney, read this book. If you want to find out what has happened to Shirley since 2005, you should probably ask someone other than me.

  • Billy
    2019-06-01 05:04

    Paul Shirley has the dubious distinction of playing on the Iowa State team that lost to Hampton in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. He was on the wrong side of the game that resulted in the diminutive Hampton coach being picked up by his (much larger) player and triumphantly kicking his legs in the air. Shirley gained his initial distinction by being semi-famously caught crying on the sidelines as the other side exploded in uncontrollable joy.He became well known in the sports blogosphere in May 2005 when he wrote a hysterical blog about being the 12th man on the NBA's Phoenix Suns.'s Bill Simmons (aka the Sports Guy) developed a pretty serious man-crush on Mr. Shirley, and his writing career was born.This book covers the time from his college graduation in the spring of 2001 until the time he started writing the blog for the Suns in '05. If you want a very witty (yep, an athlete with a functioning brain) account of some of the gawd-aweful places on the planet that they play professional basketball this the book for you. It's only about 300 or so pages (of bigger print), so it shouldn't take more than a week to finish.

  • Tammy
    2019-06-07 10:51

    This account from a vagabond professional basketball player gives a behind-the-scenes look of what it means to be a vagabond basketball player. Reading that last sentence gives a sense of the entire substance of the story. Although this book received high reviews elsewhere for its wit and acerbic observations of locker-room life, I would add that these very qualities made me glad to finish the book. Ironically, the author rails against the intellectual depth of his fellow professional athletes and the seemingly never-ending sufferings and injustices he endures in his chosen profession -- but these observations soon become tiring in their mean-spiritedness. His sense of intellectual superiority over his teammates (and others) is the just a different iteration of the sense of superiority he despises in them.Occasionally witty and offering back-room observations of the world of professional basketball, the book has its moments, but not enough to recommend this book except to the very, very hardcore sports-book reader.

  • furious
    2019-06-15 05:18

    3 stars because i love basketball & this has some good "insider" info, plus the dude can be kind of funny at times...but i could never get behind the guy. the book, i would imagine, works best if you have a certain degree of empathy with the author, when you are invested in his ups & downs, when you give a rat's ass about his hopes or dreams or whether he becomes an NBA superstar or gets gutshot over a handful of change & dies in a back alley in some squalid Russian wasteland. i, however, did not care one bit. about any of that. paul shirley, to me, comes off as basically a typical American jerkoff. he just struck me as being sort of an asshole, and i never really rooted for anything good to happen to him. so, aside from a brief bit toward the end [of me reading this book], when he caught a roster spot on the Suns (& averaged about a minute per season), i was mostly satisfied. on giving it this much thought, it probably doesn't even deserve 3 stars, but i already put them in, so fuck it.