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Shaq Talks Back: The Uncensored Word on My Life and Winning in the NBA Hardcover – April 10, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shaq's new book (after Shaq and the Beanstalk) is entertaining, controversial and funny, like its author. He recounts his life story, from his childhood in Newark through winning the 2000 NBA Championship. Shaq's prose is uneven and repetitive in patches, but he writes in an authentic and likable voice throughout. Unlike other sports autobiographies, in which a co-writer essentially invents an athlete's "writing style," Shaq's words are his own fans will recognize his distinctive, opinionated voice. The text is broken up by interludes written by important people in Shaq's life (from his mother to his personal cook). Those passages provide a change of tone and lend perspective to Shaq's story. He speaks frankly about his current and former teammates and coaches, as well as the state of the NBA and of the world in general. Some of the statements in this book could get him in trouble with his NBA colleagues, but Shaq's honesty is part of what makes him such fun to read. Though Shaq devotes a lot of the book to his life off the court (his movies, rap albums, celebrity life), there's enough basketball here to satisfy hardcore hoops junkies (fans will be especially intrigued by his analysis of last season's championship run). (Apr.) Forecast: Shaq's appealing personality, controversial statements and celebrity should endear this candid, bold book to basketball fans. It would probably do well even without much promotion, but with a national author tour and print advertising, big sales seem virtually assured.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Readers who feel the NBA today is rife with self-centered athletes will be pleasantly surprised to read this book by a young man who seems team oriented and, at most times, quite level-headed. His recent difficulties with Kobe Bryant, the other star of the Los Angeles Lakers, notwithstanding, O'Neal comes across as the leader of the defending NBA champions. In many ways, O'Neal has become as disciplined as his stepfather, a retired U.S. Army NCO, but there are still hints that there is a 15-year-old trying to break out of a 30-year-old's body. What is particularly revealing here is his discussion of his career in the league, focusing on the Lakers championship under Coach Phil Jackson. O'Neal is quite candid about his relationships with his coaches, particularly several he did not feel provided sufficient leadership. Also of interest is his candid appraisal of NBA players, past and present. O'Neal is a complex man who just recently earned a college degree from Louisiana State University and tells the story of his life in an entertaining fashion. The language is a bit rough, but the book is still recommended for public libraries. William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312278454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312278458
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
'Shaq Talks Back: The Uncensored Word on My Life and Winning in the NBA' is a giant of a book written by a sporting superstar. Shaquille O'Neal shoots clean baskets from every part of the literary court, delighting and dazzling the reader with his unique writing style. He has as much facility with language as he does with the ball, and his words bounce off the page with effortless grace.
There are many memorable encounters played and replayed throughout the text, but for me, the one that best epitomizes Shaq's sporting philosophy is seen on pages 68-81. It relates to the famous 'International Incident of 1996', and O'Neal is candid about his pivotal role:
'I first saw him in Europe and I'll never forget his name; Teodor Dobrowski. He played center for the Warsaw Warriors and he was a giant. Great skills. Hands the size of frisbees. By all reports a standup guy. So when he told me he wanted to settle in America, I arranged for him to try out for the Lakers. Even let him stay at my place. Eat my food. Drink my beer. Date my girl. He wanted to show his gratitude so he offered to sell me his family castle in Krakow for only $7000. I gave him cash. Big mistake. There was no castle. Not even a family. The bum scammed me. So I stuck him on an ageing Aeroflot and wished him luck. All of it bad. End of story. And he got those cuts and bruises when he fell out of the cab on the way to the airport. Honest. If I'd known that diplomats would later be recalled, two embassies closed, the Secretary of State ordered back to Washington and the UN General Assembly reconvened, I might have actually paid the cabfare before running away at the terminal. Do I regret sending the grifter back to Warsaw? Never. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's being touched by a 10-foot Pole.'
When 'Shaq Talks Back', you'd better listen. Better still, read this wonderful book.
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By A Customer on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shaq takes you through his earlydays growing up in Newark, New Jersey and talks about his familyand friends. Then later on in the book, he talks about how he started playing basketball, beingbigger than most kids his age. He holds nothing back, always speaking what's on his mind. Towards the end of the book, he describes how the 2000 L.A. LAKERS got it all together and beat the Indiana Pacers in the finals. If you're a fan of Shaq or the Lakers, this book is for you.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to admit I didn't have very high expectations for Shaq's new book, however after starting the book I couldn't put it down. I read the entire book in one day. Shaq provides a no holds bar account of his life and his quest for a NBA championship. The voice of the book is definetly that of "The Big Aristotle." The book was informative and entertaining. Shaq has great sense of humor and he has no problem speaking his mind.
I suggest anyone interested in a behind scenes look at life in the NBA look no further than Shaq's latest book.
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Format: Hardcover
I truly am proud of Shaq. I have always been a fan, starting when he and Larry Brown couldn't quite get over the hump in Baton Rouge and when Penny Hardaway's trail of tears always seemed to make the Magic slip up in Orlando. So needless to say, his move to L.A. and subsequent submission to the coaching mastermind of Phil Jackson, especially in the wake of an NBA with no Mike, was a great surprise.
As for the book, I ordered it expecting more of the same ole' boastful, jubilant can't get enough fun Shaq, and I found, in addition to all those things, a new Shaq that makes this book worth the read all the more. Written in a style that only Shaq could pull off, the book traces his life from NJ to the south and his time in high school, college, the Olympics and NBA. It gives the reader wonderful insight into a very public figure and clues you into why Shaquille O'Neal is Shaq.
As for the book's merits as non-fiction, many critics have poo-poo'd the book's informal tone and Shaqisms, but frankly, that makes it worth the read (it is a quick read, easily finished in a weekend). Who wants to read a book on Shaq in the third person, or the first person for that matter? Clearly, you want to read his autobiography in the Shaqperson! Admittedly, some of the one liners and especially his use of the beatnic term 'cat' are tiresome, but ultimately are worth the trouble.
Ultimately see a lot of things about Shaq that you don't catch on TNT or on the back of a trading card. Shaq is genuine, he is taking care of his family, he has learned to let the pundits be pundits (because that what they are paid to do), and is just trying to enjoy life. He has become a very impressive, very mature man, and I certainly respect him for that.
Bottomline: For the sportsfan or Shaqfan, this is a slam dunk.
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Format: Hardcover
Let's get one thing straight -- I've always been, and will alwyas be, a New York Knicks fan. But I was curious what Shaq, who seems so gregarious and charismatic in his public life, had to say about his personal life and his views on the NBA. This book didn't dissapoint. Shaq is very candid about the turmoil he has encountered on and off the court -- his stories about his father and his grandmother are truly touching. His own voice, compassionate and very, very funny, really comes through here. He shows himself to be a caring and concerned superstar. His behind-the-scenes tales about the Magic and the Lakers are the type of inside stuff any NBA fan would love. Not at all a fluff, celebrity bio -- highly reccomended if you care about the game of basketball and where it's headed.
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