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I think the comparisons t Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" are way off the mark. Although we get inside scoop on basketball players' sex, drugs and religion 'n' roll, it's not quite as mindblowing in the Internet age.
Shirley did do a blog and much of this reads like a blog so I skimmed over a lot of the pages when bored (trust me, a life in pro basketball is not as interesting as you'd think) but the stuff on playing in Russia and back in the States with the Phoenix Suns, Shirley hits his stride.
The best thing about this book is Shirley is the first athlete I've ever heard of to come right out and state the obvious between stupidity and religious conversion go hand in hand. Also, as humorous are Shirley's attempts at dating especially in Europe. What blew my mind was why he had such a tough time finding good food in Spain. I suggest going here: [...] and getting back to me on all that, Mr. Shirley.
Paul has a unique voice, and that voice is well-utilized in the creation of this book. A very interesting view of what it is like for a North American to play pro ball in Europe. Experiences handled with wonder and wit.
The descriptions of playing for that great Phoenix team are just...awesome.
Not to pigeonhole this work, but this stands with Loose Balls, Breaks of the Game and the Miracle of St. Anthony as great basketball-related books.
A change of pace from the normal 'season with' type of book - written by a relatively normal person with a detached view of events surrounding him - a must for anyone who likes to get inside any pro team.
I got this after reading comments online by the Sportsguy. Other reviews seemed to either call it 'highbrow" or "sophmoric". I don't see the highbrow part at all. There were some funny moments. His hospital experience description was laugh out loud funny...but admittedly kind of sophmoric I guess. He seemed to repeat himself frequently. Not sure I really understand his basic disgust with the NBA players and how that relates to his burning desire to be one of them.
Overall, it was somewhat entertaining, but I was expecting more.
Sports autobiographies can be saccharine, overwrought, self-gratifying. Paul Shirley is none of these things. With tongue firmly in cheek, he works his craft with the skill of an anthropologist participant-observer (albeit an extremely tall one). Laughs are had on every page, sometimes to the embarrassment of one reading on a plane or other public setting. You will vividly participate in a life most of us won't ever know: the elite world of professional basketball, from it's lurid underbelly to the glory of the NBA playoffs. Your perspective on many basketball heroes - from Kobe and Shaq to Yao Ming to Steve Nash - will be changed.
Paul Shirley already thinks too much - enough for several people. Don't think; just buy it.
Can I Keep My Jersey gives you insight into the day-in-day-out life of a mediocre professional basketball player. We all know what it's like to be Kobe Bryant (awesome), but what about the third stringer at the end of the bench? This book chronicles Paul Shirley's basketball trek overseas to his eventual NBA big break. Shirley gives the average fan insight into professional basketball the way that Jim Bouton's Ball Four did for baseball and Tim Green's Dark Side of the Game did for football.
Only finished because I spent the money. The author should complain less and work on getting better as a basketball player. He is very proud about sleeping till 9am but never takes initiative to get up early and practice.