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Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond Paperback – March 25, 2008
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About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Paul Shirley had the chance for such a book, especially given his position of the far edge of his profession, where he had to fight hard to keep his professional career alive. Instead, what emerged was a book that, while periodically clever, grows increasingly tiresome as the pages turn.
Almost everyone Shirley meets is, for him, somehow lacking. Yet when Paul Shirley makes so few friends on so many teams in so many countries, the obvious question is whether it might just be the author who is at fault.
A subtitle for the book might have been "My deep contempt for just about everyone I ever met and most countries, too." Contempt isn't witty and it isn't smart. It's just boring, isolating and, in the end, a little sad.
The basic plot repeats with each chapter: A) anxiety about getting a job, B) getting a job, C) how the new job proved boring/stupid/unworthy, D) how the location of the job proved dreadful, E) how the people with whom the author worked proved too dumb or too religious to be worth the author's time, conversation or interest and F) how it all fell apart, causing him to return to A) above.Read more ›
While Shirley's humor sometimes misses its mark, the writing is engaging and much more interesting than your typical basketball player's memoir. The effort and dedication required to become even an average division I basketball player results in a lot of sentences in basketball memoirs like, "on Tuesday I went to the gym and shot 10 thousand three pointers." Not exactly the ideal grist to create a memorable book, but Shirley has succeeded in writing a book that addresses the reality of a life in basketball while maintaining a refreshing sense of humor about it.
1) People who are basketball fans in general and have never read Paul Shirley before.
2) Readers who got hooked on Paul Shirley via his NBA Blog, or via Bill Simmons' columns on ESPN's Page 2. If you found this book by way of either of these methods, I'm sure you'll love it.
If you're in group 1 and you have a smart-a, sarcastic, dry, witty, smart sense of humor, I think you'll like Paul's writing.
I loved hearing about his experiences in foreign countries most of all. Paul gives you a look at being a complete fish out of water in places most tourists never go. If you've traveled outside the US, you'll definitely relate to some of his uncomfortable, awkward stories.
You also get a first-hand tour of the dredges of professional basketball in the USA - the CBA and the ABA. Personally, having been to the wonderful world of Yakima, Washington, I found his CBA stories about his time there to be particularly entertaining.
Again, this book isn't so much about the NBA or famous basketball players, it's about Paul's travels across the world while doing his job. I get the idea that while Paul loves playing basketball, he may not enjoy the rigmarole of playing in 3rd-world countries; it sort of seems like a paycheck for him in some points. Also, after making it into the NBA, he really brought an everyman-view to the NBA lifestyle too.
I breezed through this book. If you're in his target demographic (I am) and would enjoy reading things like blogs, I would recommend it. If you're not though, I'm not so sure...
However, Shirley's view on traveling, fans, and anything foreign (i.e. not from his hometown of 600 people in Kansas) is just aggravating. A little appreciation of his life and experiences could have really made this an exciting story to read, instead it's a woe-is-me view that is frustrating to a well-read or well-traveled reader.
The writing has it's moments. The quality is there, and as another reviewer noted - the editor could have gone a long way to curb some of the unnecessary banter. Shirley's second and third-guessing of his own phrasing, writing, and stories are distracting and drags interesting stories into self-indulgent and unnecessary debates (that he has with himself.) As a fan of Shirley's blog and articles, I found myself disappointed with this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a decent enough read with moments of humor along the way, but Paul Shirley's own attitudes (including a mouth-foaming hatred of Christians) keep this from being as good a book... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bruce Baskin
Probably the worst book I have tried to read. There is little entertainment value. Don't waste your time or money.Published 1 month ago by R. Walsh
This is a thoroughly entertaining and easy read - I finished this book the same day I opened it. This was the first thing I'd read by Paul Shirley, and his humor and intelligence... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mindy D
My only complaint is Shirley didn't start writing earlier. Equal part sarcastic and insightful, this memoir of Shirley basketball career from college to the NBA to the depth of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Barry Welch
An original, Shirley holds nothing back. His insight into the game is fantastic, and his writing will leave you doubled over in stitches. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ronnie Aigle
A bit rough in the polished prose department, but overall it was a rare insight into the life of a basketball gypsy.Published 23 months ago by Lane Cook
If you are a basketball fan you'll like this. If your a Iowa State Cyclone basketball fan you'll Love it. Paul Shirley is witty and funny. excellent book.Published on March 21, 2013 by Dino1410