Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs and True Love in the NBA [NOOK Book]

Overview

The first candid report from a land of fragile egos, available women, unexpected tenderness, intramural fistfights, colossal partying, bizarre humor, inconceivable riches, and desperate competition, Loose Balls does for roundball what Ball Four did for hardball. From revelations about the meanest, softest, and smelliest players in the league, to Williams’s early days as a “young man with a lot of money and not a lot of sense,” to his strong and...
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Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs and True Love in the NBA

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Overview

The first candid report from a land of fragile egos, available women, unexpected tenderness, intramural fistfights, colossal partying, bizarre humor, inconceivable riches, and desperate competition, Loose Balls does for roundball what Ball Four did for hardball. From revelations about the meanest, softest, and smelliest players in the league, to Williams’s early days as a “young man with a lot of money and not a lot of sense,” to his strong and powerful views on race, privilege, and giving back, Loose Balls is a basketball book unlike any other.

No inspirational pieties or chest-thumping boasting here—instead, Jayson Williams gives us the real insider tales of refs, groupies, coaches, entourages, and all the superstars, bench warmers, journeymen, clowns, and other performers in the rarefied circus that is professional basketball.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Post
Think Dennis Rodman played for laughs instead of raunch—Ball Four with a bigger ball.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Cahners Business Information.|
KLIATT
Williams, a former All-Star who played for the Phoenix Suns and the New Jersey Nets, doesn't mince words when talking about the fast lifestyles, on-the-court antics, and lavish spending of today's NBA elite. Using a tongue-in-cheek writing style (massaged and packaged for better reading by freelance journalist Friedman, who has written for Esquire, GQ, and Men's Journal), Wil-liams describes days filled with intense practice—both physical and mental—and nights of drinking and excess with fellow NBA All-Stars Charles Barkley, Armen Gil-liam, Larry Bird, and the man Williams calls the "Black Jesus in Sneakers"—Mi-chael Jordan. The Jordan reference brings to the forefront some features that make this book a surprisingly relevant classroom tool and an interesting read for senior high students and adults. Loose Balls has an excellent index. I wasn't sure of its importance until I was looking for that Jordan quote to include in this review. Another benefit of the index as an effective tool for teachers is to pinpoint the topical issues that make this book more than an "ego piece." Williams speaks candidly of racism, AIDS, interracial marriage, alcohol use, and other topics with thought-provoking insight into each—great for informative essay reports and general topic background research when students need analysis of an issue from different perspectives to add that certain "present-day spark" to their writing. Loose Balls has some unexpected "spark" of its own—foul language, and some questionable grammar. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Random House, Broadway, 276p. index. 21cm. 99-41569.,$12.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Tom Adamich; Cataloger-Tech. Svcs., Stetson Univ. College of La , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
Library Journal
Pro basketball is sweaty, hard, and mean--but Williams makes it funny. Sample chapter: "Sex, Drugs and Alcohol and How Charles Barkley Took Me Under His Wing and Proceeded To Shave Four Years Off My Life." Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
The New Yorker
Haphazardly organized, this book nonetheless gets by on William's irrepresible personality and charm...His coming-of-age story, on court and off, proves more compelling and individual than the usual-suspects parade of the game's outsized egos.
Charles Salzberg
Jayson Williams is refreshingly candid about race, sex, money and alcohol in the National Basketball Association in his memoir, Loose Balls... the riffs are entertaining and give a nice insider's view of professional basketball.
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767909389
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/8/2002
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,046,026
  • File size: 831 KB

Meet the Author

Jayson Williams, the All-Star center of the New Jersey Nets, is a ten-year veteran of the NBA and a graduate of St. John's University. He is a recipient of the NAACP Trailblazer Award for community service, and sponsors the Jayson Williams Foundation for Underprivileged Youth. A native of New York City, he lives in northern New Jersey.

Steve Friedman is a contributing editor at Esquire magazine and a former senior editor at GQ. He has written for Outside, ESPN The Magazine, Details, and many other national publications, and his work has been collected in The Best American Sports Writing. He lives in New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Dumb & Dumber Don't Even Begin to Describe It--My Years with the Philadelphia 76ers (Following a Brief Detour in the Desert) 9
Chapter 2 The Meanest, Funniest, Smelliest, and Softest Players in the League and How Larry Bird's Better Than Most People Think, Hakeem Is Nastier, and Michael Jordan Is Much, Much, Much Meaner 21
Chapter 3 Pleasures of the Flesh, Temptations of the Spirit, and How Charles Barkley Took Me Under His Wing and Proceeded to Shave Four Years off My Life 45
Chapter 4 Bathroom Brawls, Cheating and Arguing with Teammates over Stats. Why I Love the College Game 67
Chapter 5 Poverty, Wealth, My Plan for Making Every NBA Player Take a Nine-to-Five Job Laying Bricks for Two Years Before Entering the League & Why I'll Puke If I Hear Another Kid Say, "I'm Leaving College 'Cause My Mama Needs a New House" 87
Chapter 6 Race, Racism & the Night Tom Gugliotta Told Keith (the Great White Hope) Van Horn, "There's One Sheriff in Town, and I'm It," Then Proceeded to Light Him Up for 35 Points 103
Chapter 7 Dirty Tricks, Hidden Fouls, Head Games & Other Tools of an NBA Veteran's Trade 119
Chapter 8 On the Road, at the Bars & in the Backwoods. L.A. Has the Best Cheerleaders, There Are Some Real Animals in New York City, and Milwaukee Is Strictly Laverne & Shirley. Plus, Why Utah Fans Are Crazy but Nice 137
Chapter 9 Friends, Hangers-on, Entourages & the Relative You Haven't Heard from in Ten Years Who Wants to Borrow Fifteen Grand--Yesterday 149
Chapter 10 What's Love Got to Do with It? Or Why Guys Who Really Can't Stand Each Other Can Be Great Teammates, Why Good Friends Occasionally Almost Kill Each Other & Who Hates Who 159
Chapter 11 Riches, Fame, Celebrity, and the Night George Bush and I Put Our Heads Together to Figure Out What Was Up with UFOs, Aliens & Area 51 175
Chapter 12 Liars, Cheats, Tramps & Thieves. All About Coaches (with a Few Words on Refs) 187
Chapter 13 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 211
Chapter 14 Trash-Talking, Violence, Toughness & Why Most Seven-Footers with Big Muscles Wouldn't Know What to Do If They Ever Got in a Fight 219
Chapter 15 The Swamp Called the Meadowlands--My Up & Down, Loving & Hating, Bench-Riding & All-Star Career with the New Jersey Nets 243
Chapter 16 What the NBA Has Taught Me About Life 259
Index 267
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First Chapter

Dumb & Dumber Don't Even Begin to Describe It--My Years with the Philadelphia 76ers (Following a Brief Detour in the Desert)

The only thing I knew about Phoenix when I came out of college was it was hot and it had a lot of pickup trucks. So when the Suns drafted me out of St. John's in 1990, and when the guy at the podium said, "Going to the Suns is Jayson Williams," I said, "Oh, no, I'm not. No, I'm not." Actually I didn't just say it. I yelled it.

Unfortunately, the TV cameras happened to be focusing on me at that moment, scowling and waving my arms, yelling, "Oh, no, I'm not." I don't think that helped me with the Phoenix fans.

I waited two months before going out there. The night before the trip, I went to a party at Tunnel, a New York City nightclub. I had my last drink at 5:30 a.m. The plane left a little after 6:00 a.m. Then I was drinking on the plane, and when I got to Phoenix, I had some drinks from the minibar in the hotel room. Then I passed out. And you know how sometimes when you wake up in a hotel room, you don't know where you're at? That was what it was like, but worse. I look outside and there's nothing but desert. And as far as I knew I was still in New York. I had forgotten all about the plane ride. So I look outside and there was nothing but desert, and the heat just smacked me. It was 122 degrees that day. And the heat just knocked me down. I get up and there's the desert again. I think I'm still in New York and all I see is desert.

"Holy smokes," I say, "they dropped the bomb."

Now I'm all bug-eyed, trying to call the front desk, ask what the emergency evacuation plans are, who bombed the city, are the phone lines down, can I get in touch with my parents? And I hear a loud knock on the door. I answer it in my underwear. It's Jerry Colangelo, owner of the Phoenix Suns. I'm sweating--stinking, I'm sure, like a distillery. I can feel the alcohol coming out of my pores.

Jerry looks at me.

"Jayson?" he says.

But I'm still in New York. At least I think I'm in New York.

"What happened?" I yell. "They dropped the bomb on us. Where am I? I need to get in touch with my parents to make sure they didn't get hit by the bomb. Can you get me a phone line?"

Jerry's still looking at me.

"Oh, my," he says. "We've got a problem."

When Big Daddy Lost His Voice

A few weeks later they call me to the office, Jerry Colangelo and his boys. I'm overweight, out of shape, and I hadn't played basketball in a while, because I had a broken foot my senior year of college. Also, I'm continuing to hate Phoenix. Jerry tells me I have an attitude problem. Then he insults St. John's, my alma mater. I think Jerry's trying to piss me off.

"Screw you!" I say. Then I knock everything off Jerry's desk. Tell him I'm going home.

He says he'll meet me at the hotel, we can work things out, we have to work things out. But I don't even go to the hotel. I just go straight to the airport, then fly home, to my father.

I figure he'll be happy to see me, so when I knock on his door and he opens it, I'm all smiles.

"Dad," I say, "I'm home!"

"What the hell are you doing here?" he says. "You're supposed to be in Phoenix."

"Dad, they were treating me real bad out there. They're calling me 'boy.'"

Now I'm crying.

"They're talking down to me, yelling at me, criticizing me, saying I'm the worst player in camp."

My dad puts his hand on my shoulder.

"Jay," he says, "let me tell you something. You're my son, and I don't care what, you ain't never got to do something you don't want to do. You don't want to go out to Phoenix, you ain't got to go."

As soon as he says that, briiing! briiing!

I pick up the phone and it's Jerry Colangelo.

My dad's asking who it is, and I'm telling him don't worry, I'll handle it. And Jerry's yelling at me. He's saying, "Son, you don't come to Phoenix, we're going to give you the minimum, a hundred and fifty thousand. And you're never going to make more than that in this league."

My father sees my face and he says, "Let me speak to him. Let me have him."

"Dad," I say, "don't worry about it, man. I got him."

But my dad says, "Boy, I told you. You ain't gotta do nothing you don't want to do. Now, let me talk to him."

So I give my father the phone.

"Yeah, this is Big Daddy," he says, all belligerent. That's my father's nickname, Big Daddy. "What do you want?"

Then there's quiet.

"Oh, yeah?" he says again, but not so belligerent.

More quiet.

"Oh, yeah?" Real quiet now. "Ohh. Oh, man. Okay. Okay, thank you."

My dad hangs up the phone. Then he says, "Son, you've got to get your butt on the next plane back to Phoenix."

Car Trouble

When I'm back in Phoenix, because I'm the team's first-round draft pick, the team gives me a Pontiac Grand Prix. The second-round pick gets a Cadillac. I'm pissed off about that. So I take that Grand Prix and I drive into the parking lot and crash into every pole I can see, then I gave the car back to them.

So the owners tell me--they're being real cute--"You know, that car we gave you might have been too little. So we're gonna give you a big ol' Grand Marquis."

But I crash that one up, too. So finally they give me an LTD. Real Barnaby Jones model.

The day I get the car I have to go to the airport to pick up my brother Victor. I get there early, so I have a few drinks. For some reason I get drunker drinking at airports and Yankee games than anywhere else in the world. So when Vic finally arrives, I'm a little drunk, but we get in the LTD anyway, and I drive him back to the hotel.



Excerpted from Loose Balls by Jayson Williams. Copyright 2000 by Jayson Williams. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Tap here!

    Go to bunny rewults 1-5 to read my story Brambleblood's Story. Please read it i workee so hard on it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    IMPORTANT

    Go to story all results and read 'Streamfeather's Prophecy' by Shimmerstream.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Starrykit

    Still going strong! Needs more action though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Ballstat

    Eh not the best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Willowsong

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(super)!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Azulfire

    Ditto!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Jaysoar's story Part 3

    She looks at Redpool, who stopped touching noses with her. "I think I should go to the apprentice den for some rest." Jaypaw suggested, yawning. "Me too." Whitepaw agreed, stretching. "Well, you three go and meet two older apprentices there and find a moss bed for yourselves." Talonfeather ordered as the cats go back to thier dens. "Well?" Snowpaw urged impatiently. "I would like to get some rest!" Jaypaw wasn't surprised by how much he had raise his voice. "Oh, I'm coming, Snow." Whitepaw mewed and came up behind him and ran toward the apprentices den. Jaypaw glace over her shoulder to see her parents, Ratwhisker and Splashfeather, who are watching them. Jaypaw knows how much they have grown so far and how much they have learned, and she would miss sleeping in the nursery and nuzzles her muzzle against her mother's flank. "Hey, Jay, are you coming?" Jaypaw turned around to see Whitepaw and Snowpaw's white fur just outside the apprentices den. "Oh, I'm coming!" Jaypaw called back to her littermates. She ran over to them, but stumbles inside the den by accident and she saw a glimpse of orange fur. "Whoa!" The cat with orange fur mewed. "Watch your step!" Jaypaw was filled with disappiontment and embaressement. She scrambled to her paws and saw not one, but two small cats with orange fur. "You must be the two apprentices Talonfeather must have been talking about." Whitepaw murmured, peeking her head inside the den. 'I'm in the apprentice den?' Jaypaw wondered. 'If it is, it looks smaller than what I expected.' One of the orange cats, with white paws and amber eyes, spoke first. "That is right. I am Krestelpaw." The other cat with orange fur, and black paws and green eyes, speak next. "And I am Icepaw. Welcome to the apprentices den. Are you the two new apprentices?" Jaypaw looked around, her eyes narrowing on different moss beds. "Actually," Whitepaw mewed and called fr Snowpaw, who was still outside. "Yeah?" He asked and came in. "Are you three the new apprentices?" Icepaw asked again. Snowpaw nodded. "I am Snowpaw. This-" he pointed his tail to his white sister. "-is Whitepaw. And over there-" he flick his tail over to the tortoiseshell apprentice. "-is Jaypaw." When she heard her name, Jaypaw's ears shakes and she looks at the five apprentices. "Well, go and find a bedding and get some rest." Krestelpaw suggested. "Tomorrow is a big day of training." As they found their nest, Krestelpaw sleeps next to Icepaw, and Snowpaw sleeps next to Krestelpaw and Whitepaw and she sleeps next to Jaypaw. 'Good night, Starclan.' She thought and close her eyes. I NOW NOTICE SOME SPELLING MISTAKES ON PART TWO AND PROBALY PART ONE AND THIS PART. I AM TRYING TO GET IT OVER WITH FOR TONIGHT.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2002

    Its a great Nonfiction book!!

    This book is fantastic! I would recommend this nonfiction book to everyone that is a teenager or above. Even if you¿re not one of the biggest basketball fans in the world, you find out what the life in NBA is really like. Also, you get a little insight about your favorite NBA stars, some that you have never heard of, and others such as, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Larry Bird.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2002

    BRAVO, WAY TO GO BIG MAN!

    I MUST ADMIT JAYSON WILLIAMS HAS DONE A TERRIFIC JOB ON UNFOLDING HIS LIFE IN THIS BOOK. THE BOOK GAVE A UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF INFORMATION IN FULL DETAIL. HE TALKED ABOUT INTERESTING STORIES THAT ALMOST MADE YOU WANT TO BE APART OF. I SUGGEST EVERYONE GO OUT AND BUY THIS BOOK. IT IS SO HILARIOUS. SIGNING OFF, SKY RITZ

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2000

    The most interesting book i've read

    This book inspired me. It made me realize that there are good people inside the NBA. Especially 'Jay'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    Very entertaining book.

    I've seen Jayson Williams on various shows & he always comes off as charming & very funny. I've also read articles about his serious side. This book was a combination of sad & funny stories. Some of the funny ones made me want to bust out laughing on the subway. If you've ever seen Jayson Williams on a talk show, then you'll enjoy the book. Though i'm a fan of his, i don't think you have to be an NBA fan to enjoy the book. I've already suggested the book to some of my friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2000

    Really Funny Book

    This book is truly unique. It was not what I expected, but I must admit there were parts of this book that just made me laugh out loud. Jayson is funny, witty, sensitive, and brutally honest at times. If you're a fan of Jayson Williams, this book is worth the read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2000

    Incredibly funny Black Man speaks

    I haven't even finished the book and I love it already. It is hilarious. I don't think anyone was reading this to become enlightened on basketball because I don't think that's what this book intended to do. But it does give a realistic portrayal of all too human people we put up on a pedestal and wonder why they fall off. Money can't change anyone and as long as they are good people to begin with nothing else matters but the game and the jokes which are here in abundance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2000

    How about changing the title to just 'Loose'

    This book is not interesting at all. Unintelligent! If these guys are making that kind of money (Millions) in the NBA and speak like Jay Williams in this book don't you think teachers should make at least $50,000 a year!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2000

    I LOVED LOOSE BALLS BY JASON WILLIAMS

    I LIKED THE BOOK A LOT BECAUSE IT WAS VERY FUNNY AND YOU COULD SEE THE LIFE OF AN NBA STAR!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2000

    not that bad

    I have to admit I really enjoy the review article on the book (Loose Balls). It sounds real to me. I have to belief this sort of things did happen, he sounds very sincere. I guess I'll have to get this book. If not for me for my cousin. :-? Excellent.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2000

    Great Book, Even if you're not a big fan of the NBA.

    Even though I never been a big fan of basketball, I really enjoyed this book. Exactly what the average sports fan wants... behind the scenes of life in sports. A Lot of HSO's (Hot Sports Opionions)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2000

    Funny and Sincere

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2000

    Williams is 'BRILLIANT'

    With all the sports biographies in the last few years, none seemed as witty, honest, and factual, as Williams shares his day to days during his NBA travels. Want a good belly laugh? Then you must read this book, pick out a chapter and read it out loud to a friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2000

    Some of the funniest stories I've read about anything!

    The mischief this ballplayer creates and recollects in the first chapter alone makes it a worthwhile read. I read Ball Four when it first hit paperback in the 70's. Even though we all know about nutty behavior of our 'heroes' and there are no Bouton-like surprises, the book manages to still create belly-laughs. BTW, read the other book called Loose Balls by Terry Pluto. It is about the ABA while Dr. J played there. That one is terrific for old ABA fans-- I know you three are out there. You are the ones who smile knowingly at Chris Porter's 'fro.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

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