Monday, June 16, 2008

Hoop Talk

I went and heard Paul Shirley talk at the Des Moines library last week, and what you read on the printed page is exactly what you get in person: dark, sarcastic, self-depricating, and slightly offensive in a too-honest-kind-of-way. Paul noted at the start that looking out at the room he could tell half the crowd of 200 were avid readers, and the other half were avid sports fans. Each group got something worth coming for.

Paul certainly knows which of his bits will get the big laughs, and he sets those lines up like a seasoned pro, but he is humorous throughout his talks. He just points out the absurdity that seems to permeate his basketball life.

The most surprising thing is his dissolutionment with what most of us civlians build up: Sports, Fame, Money, Success. He has been behind the cutain too much, has seen too many of the inner workings of professional basketball, and it has turned hoops into a job. A very lucrative job, Paul admits, but he has no interest in returning to the NBA, for instance. I suppose he is the type who prefers to play every day in Europe than ride the bench for a bigger paycheck in the NBA.

Buy the book. It is an entertaining an illuminating read.

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