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Foul Lines: A Pro Basketball Novel Kindle Edition

12 customer reviews

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Length: 319 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Years of behind-the-scenes reporting fuel this fast, funny basketball exposé from Sports Illustrated writers McCallum and Wertheim, covering ground both expected (race, sex, the press) and unexpected (reality TV, PR, cars). When the Los Angeles Lasers recruit Yale whiz kid Jamal Kelly to replace their suddenly deceased director of public relations, Jamal finds himself struggling to keep a level head while managing the team brand and the hot shots behind it: players, execs, coaches and one very eccentric team owner. Shocked and seduced by a world of pro sports glitz (strip club lunches, exclusive parties in the Hollywood hills, etc.), Jamal finds support from sexy L.A. Times sports reporter Jilly Forrester and slumping team captain Lorenzen "Lo" Mayne, as well as his own down-and-out brother, Zeke. McCallum and Wertheim take very funny jabs at corporate sponsorship, racialized posturing and professional entitlement. They also manage to cram in the stories of an impressively large cast as they try to deal with the conflicting spheres of team, families and lovers. When a secret that three players have been harboring suddenly surfaces, Jamal must choose between star power and what he knows is right. There's enough plot tension to keep things moving, but it's the insider details that give the book punch. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Jamal Kelly escaped the inner city with a scholarship to Yale, and as graduation approaches he is putting the finishing touches on a statistical-analysis program that he hopes will affect professional basketball in much the same way sabermetrics is changing baseball. His work lands him a position with the Los Angeles Lasers of the NBA. He's young, relatively wealthy, and livin' the dream. Or so he thinks. The league and its players soon prove an often-dismaying convergence of narcissism, greed, and cultural exploitation. McCallum and Wertheim, senior writers for Sports Illustrated who certainly know the excesses of the NBA, have chosen "reality fiction" as a safe cover to avoid the legal tangles of naming names, a strategy they skewer in the book's last pages. There is some inspired humor here, including an All-Star event sponsored by an erectile dysfunction drug and dedicated to all the "ballers" out there. Most fans would rather have had the real names, but in the meantime, they can enjoy a fast-paced story while they try to match the fictional player with his NBA counterpart. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 465 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (February 7, 2006)
  • Publication Date: January 24, 2006
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FCKRQA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jon Koncak on January 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
this is a great BOOK! I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I was a fan of Jacks "unfinished business" thus I bought this book and i was blown away. This book does for the basketball world what "get shorty" did for hollywood, a satire wth heart and soul.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl Miller on January 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jon Wertheim (SI's finest talent) and Jack McCallum really nail the drama that is modern day sports. This book is both laugh-out-loud funny, and thought provoking. I kept thinking of Robert Altman's "Nashville" while reading it, as it takes a large arena (professional sports), a varied cast, and a compelling story, and manages to weave something very special. Definitely a must read for any NBA fans, but also highly recomended to anyone who enjoys a good tale of well defined characters making their way through extreme (though all-too-true) situations.
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Format: Paperback
As a former NBA agent, I know first-hand about the dark, sad, funny, and human--underbelly of professional sports and the NBA. "Foul Lines" made me laugh so hard, the flight attendant had to ask if I was o.k.

In current events, James Fey is suffering the wrath of an angry flip-flopping Harpo and an army of literary purists for presenting fiction as fact while shattering the hopes of feel-good readers into a million little pieces. McCallum & Wertheim have accomplished the opposite; presenting this entertaining and hilarious book (Foul Lines) as a fictional glimpse into the NBA--when in truth, it's a transparent veil thinly disguising the truth and reality of today's NBA.

Oprah should invite Jack McCallum and L. Jon Wertheim on her show to balance the universe, and to expose this wonderful book to an audience equal in size to its literary merit.

Steve Woods
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tom Scott on December 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Entertaining trip with an NBA team. Predictable with no twists or turns, but the authors kept it moving. A real fun read. If this is "dead-on" as Bill Walton says in the cover blurb, then the NBA life is just as good and bad (and as R-rated) as you imagine it to be. A couple minor irritations:

- As another reviewer says, the authors use unnecessarily obscure words. Sample: "... Kwaanzii would be ushered to center court, in mufti, and panegyrized by Padgett..." This is in the same paragraph where they use the word "redolent".

- The lingo and feel of the religious player is so thoroughly wrong that it makes you wonder what else is phony. Fortunately, this player's lines are few.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I wish there were more like it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Berger on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was a really quick read that was funny cover to cover. It got the NBA satire down to a T. The bratty billionaire owners, the arrogant young players, the way Stern spins everything positive even though half the players are criminals. Some great specific jokes about A.C. Green, Doug Christie, and Stu Scott (names changed of course). It's also well-written and has compelling characters that make it a joy to read. I highly recommend this book to any NBA/sports fan, and even to readers with little interest in sports.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I love the NBA, covered it for a few years and enjoy reading even fictional accounts of it . As others have mentioned, this book starts off agonizingly slow, and never seemed to pick up for me. The word choice was also difficult to ignore. I think you'd be better off with MVP: A Novel. I read about a book or two a week, and this was one of a few that I simply stopped reading after about 50 pages.
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