Monday, June 18, 2007

The finest book in the English language... this week

I have just finished one of the best books I've read in quite some time. Enough so that I've craved it for months, bought it and read it in less than a week, and put off doing plenty of important stuff I absolutely must do in order to read it and post this, um, post about it.

The book is Paul Shirley's "Can I Keep My Jersey?"

If you've heard of Shirley - and most likely, you haven't - you know him as a sometime NBA scrub who kept a blog on one year and for sporadically.

The thing about Shirley is, apparently unlike many of his teammates, he's something of an intellectual. So his book is not exactly a tell-all, nor is it a sports cliche. In fact, as one of the people involved puts it, it's sort of what you might get if a regular guy found himself immersed in the world of pro basketball.

And it's great. Absolutely brilliant. Both funny and at the same thoughtful and thought-provoking. Look, if you like your basketball heroes coated in gold and armor and soaring like MJ above the sky, don't read this book.

But if you like sports, and yet wonder about the modern concepts of ego, greed and disdain for rules and fans and how they factor into the life of an athlete, it's worth a read.

The man's damn funny. And yet down-to-earth. He pulls few punches and tells some terrible jokes. He's not very PC. And yet, he writes a quick, light read that will nonetheless leave you thinking.

Sports fans, I can't say enough. Like Shirley himself, I'm not a fan of pro basketball. But this book, as much about life - albeit a different sort of life from mine or yours - as sport, is well worth the money.

Buy it. Because I said so.

And watch for a future post related to the book I put down to pick Shirley's up.