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Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs, and True Love in the NBA Paperback – March 13, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here's what you probably know about Jayson Williams: as of 2000, he has been in the NBA for 10 years, played in one all-star game, is one of the league's best rebounders, and has a seven-year, $100 million contract. He also has a reputation as a loudmouth with an attitude problem.

Here's what you probably don't know: he comes from a mixed-race family, lost two of his sisters to AIDS, adopted their children, and became a grandfather at 28, plus he calls his mom and dad a few times every day. Here's another thing you might not know about him: he's funny.

Williams shows off his sense of humor in Loose Balls, an irreverent look at life in the NBA. His style is conversational and snappy, with short vignettes strung together into brief, loosely themed chapters. One chapter, "What's Young & Skinny & Can Do a 580-Degree-Double-Pump-Backward Jam but Doesn't Know How to Shoot a Jump Shot or Set a Back-Side Pick? Meet the Future of the NBA" is all of eight pages long. However, by the end of the book Williams has dished the dirt on dozens of his colleagues--who is the biggest flopper (Rodman, of course), who is the worst trash talker (Gary Payton), and who is the dirtiest player (not John Stockton, but his tight shorts are a problem: "Someone should tell the man the ABA days are over.").

Williams also offers observations on coaches, refs, cheerleaders, and fans across the NBA--as well as events from his childhood, early career, and well-publicized days as a wild man. Williams's candor and charm are apparent throughout the book, as is his love of basketball. Hoops fans will love this book. --M. Stein --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The $100-million star of the hapless New Jersey Nets, Williams may want to be remembered as "a good man," but this brash collection of anecdotes and rants shows that he can be as cruel as he is kind. For one, Williams is willing to speak his mind so shamelessly he makes Keyshawn Johnson look shy--yet that brazenness may be the book's greatest strength. His insights into talking trash and team dynamics, his often scathing portraits of coaches and players, his look at front-office machinations--all make for scandalous reading. (Of course, Williams may have to wear a throat guard and flak jacket on the court once other players read this book.) The book's thematic structure, showing that Williams has reformed himself from his wild early days, mixes up old, sometimes violent, escapades with recent good works, such as visiting sick children in hospitals.His accounts of the brutal prejudice he and his family encountered in South Carolina will shock many of his fans, while his descriptions of the intensive loyalty he feels toward his college buddies reveal a more appealing side of his character. In the end, readers may not like Williams, but they'll have had fun hearing him run at the mouth. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (March 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905695
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Coming from someone who knows Jayson very well, this book is all he said it was going to be! I've heard these stories a thousand times....and each time they get better! I didn't think I would react the same way to the stories beacuse his delivery is so unique, but I was wrong. I laughed just as hard as I did when I heard them the first time. I did worry a bit because I knew I was going to be in the book, but I even had to laugh at myself. This book is a must-read for sports fans of all kinds!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you live in New York or New Jersey, you know someone who knows Jayson Williams. You've heard a good Jayson story- you saw him speeding down Route 78 or in a restaurant somewhere. Well, if you're the one guy who somehow hasn't met Jay, read Loose Balls, and you'll know a suprising amount about him.
He is the funniest man I have ever met. He makes people around him feel like they're tight. He loves kids, even your kids. And he tells some of the best damn stories about sports and athletes and people you'll ever hear. Not all are laugh-out-loud funny. Some are just modest smile inducers. Some are wet your pants funny.
You can read it in an afternoon, or over a few days. Jump from vignette to vignette (you can't really call them "chapters") in no particular order, and enjoy a tour through the life of a ten million dollar man who is more down to earth than the guy who reads your electric meter. Sure, the book would have benefitted from a smooth, glitzy editing job-- but that's not Jayson. This is. It's not world peace or a cure for cancer (though proceeds from the book go to a Parkinson's foundation--his Mom has the disease). Smile a little and rest easy with the knowledge that there is at least one athlete who smiles, laughs and cries with the rest of us.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read over 200 books in the last 2 years and Loose Balls is the funniest, warmest, and most exciting book I've read in a long, long time! Jayson Williams makes this book easy to read by making this book into little stories through out the book. Plus it's for a great cause! He is donating all the money he makes from this book to a charity reguarding Parkconsin's disease. This is definenitly a must own! Please, you won't be disappointed!
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By A Customer on March 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled across Loose Balls while browsing through a bookstore this past weekend. Jayson had just appeared on Imus and Letterman and was both funny and charming. I had some time, so I curled up in a big leather chair to flip through the book. I never expected to either laugh out loud or weep in that chair. Yet, I found myself doing both. Jayson's humanity, generosity, kindness, spirit and wit are revealed in this compilation of both genuinely funny and sincerely heartfelt stories about his life, his family, his friends, the NBA and human nature. All the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to research for Parkinson's disease. It is encouraging to know that there are still some good people among us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great read from one of the classiest guys in the NBA. He is brutally honest about himself and everyone in the NBA (the further you read, the more you'll discover just how disturbing an individual Armen Gilliam is). In true Jayson Williams fashion, all his proceeds from the book go to charity. This is entertaining all the way through, nearly impossible to put down...sports fans and non-sports fans alike will enjoy this one.
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Format: Hardcover
this book is fun to read. williams does a great job giving readers some insight on life in the NBA. he tells many humorous stories about players in the league, names name's, and calls it as he sees it.
this is not so much a book however, as a collection of a bunch of 3 paragraph stories. you almost get the feeling that williams spoke into a recorder about the NBA for several hours, someone took the tape and hammered it out verbatim as a book. this is not necessarily a bad thing unless the reader is expecting some astute or articulate view of the internal goings on in the NBA.
the only thing that nagged me was on several instances williams refers to michael jordan as "black jesus". this does not upset me on a religious ground, and i am a jordan fan, however, i found this just shy of sickening. he compliments many other NBA stars throughout the book but whenever jordan's name is mentioned, it seems to be laid on a bit thicker. it was almost as if williams was looking to place himself in jordan's good graces.
williams is definitely an impressive guy that deserves the success that his career and this book have received.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jayson Williams is one of most comedic and genuine personalities in all of professional sports. He, along, with Charles Barkely, are experts at both rebounding and scoring as well as interviewing and clowning. At many stages of the book I found myself laughing out loud and will easily remember some of the outlandish events contained within the pages. Only one characteristic of the book restrained me from conveying the rating of 5 stars. After reading the Gentleman's Quarterly article (the funniest article that I have EVER read) which shared many of the same stories as the book, I expected more of the same. Instead, Loose Balls was more the PG-13 version of the article, and apparently some of the humor was lost in the translation. To me, a common trait to sports is the presentation of attitude, and, associated with it, the use of explicatives. The lack of these within the pages of the book made it somewhat less real, less genuine. To another athlete, the difference would be negligible, but to Jayson Williams, who is one of the most genuine personalities in all of professional sports, it makes all the difference.
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