Taking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA

Taking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA

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by Keith Glass
     
 

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Bring a family of four to an NBA game today, and it costs around $500 to watch a bunch of seven-footers take bad shots. Perhaps the quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum is true—there really is a sucker born every minute.

The NBA is in trouble. And as NBA agent Keith Glass describes it—he's part of the problem! If team owners are willing to throw

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Overview

Bring a family of four to an NBA game today, and it costs around $500 to watch a bunch of seven-footers take bad shots. Perhaps the quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum is true—there really is a sucker born every minute.

The NBA is in trouble. And as NBA agent Keith Glass describes it—he's part of the problem! If team owners are willing to throw millions of dollars his way for marginal players, why should he be the only one with the self-restraint to say "no"?

In his insightful, funny, and often mind-numbingly bizarre tales of life in the NBA over the last twenty- five years, Keith Glass lets it fly from half-court. He'll tell you how we got to the present state—where an agent who makes millions off the game can't sit through one; why our NBA stars couldn't capture Olympic gold; and why the game he loves is in dire need of help.

Glass has seen it all as the representative of players like Mark Eaton, the seven-foot-five center found working as a mechanic because he hated basketball; Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who converted to Islam and brought the wrath of the league upon him when he refused to stand for the National Anthem; and first-round draft pick Quincy Douby, who was forced to enter the draft before graduating from Rutgers because of the harsh NCAA rules regarding college eligibility.

With informative chapters such as "How to Feed Your Family on Only $14 Million a Year," "Eighty-one Feet of White Centers," and "From 6'11" to the 7- Eleven," Glass shatters the myth of NBA marketing: that everything about the game is great, and that as long as the fans in the luxury boxes are happy and weighed down with expensive merchandise, all is well. But have no fear! Keith Glass doesn't preach about the evils of highlight film slam-dunks—he'll just have you falling down laughing as he flagrantly fouls the league that was once the envy of the pro sports world.

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Editorial Reviews

Fran Fraschilla
“Taking Shots should be required reading for anyone who cares about the game.”
Jud Heathcote
“Interesting, insightful, humorous and factual—Taking Shots has it all! A must read for any and all basketball or sports fan.”
Bob Hurley
“I thought Keith Glass’s book was terrific. Taking Shots will now be required reading at St. Anthony’s.”
Paul Shirley
“Through humor, he expresses a fairly weighty opinion… Keith may have outsmarted us all with his covertly brilliant writing style.”
Phil Jasner
“I found myself only reading 20-25 pages at a time, because I didn’t want it to end too soon.”
Bill Littlefield
“Glass has had some intriguing experiences as an agent for NBA players…he has some stories to tell…”
Good Times
“For an irreverent look at NBA life from an insider, consider the new book Taking Shots by Keith Glass.”
Sports Illustrated
“...insightful and at times very funny.”
New York Times
“Part memoir, part purist manifesto...a winding tour of everything right and wrong with the NBA.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Glass is deliciously passionate about things. …Strong opinions make for good reading.”
Chicago Tribune
“…Entertaining and enlightening.”
Asbury Park Press
“...a wild ride from start to finish.”
The Tennessean
“Glass displays a razor-sharp wit and an amazing capacity to tell a story. …fans will love this book…”
Montreal Gazette
“…It’s a good read, a rollicking ride, and bodes well for Glass’s retirement job as a stand-up comedian…”
draftexpress.com
“Arguably the best basketball book that came out in 2007. …For those looking to get into the industry…this book is basically a must-read. It’s all told in a pointy, cynical tone… …Extremely informative and entertaining.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061373909
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/11/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,360,236
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)

Read an Excerpt

Taking Shots

Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA
By Keith Glass

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Keith Glass
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061231858

Chapter One

Feeding Your Family on Only $14 Million a Year

For the 2004-2005 season, Latrell Sprewell was paid $14 million. When he was confronted with an offer to extend his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, his response resonated across the country. He rejected an offer of $32 million for the next four years, saying, "I've got my family to feed." Yes, a $6 million a year pay cut is big, no matter how you slice it, but it still left him with $8 million on the table per season. At the time of this "insult," it should be noted that Latrell Sprewell was thirty-five years old, which meant that he would be "earning" the last of that money as a thirty-nine-year-old.

What?! How does something like this happen? It's way too easy to put it all on Sprewell. Call this an aberration if you want, but that is not the case. Latrell Sprewell merely embodies a general sense of entitlement prevalent in the NBA and throughout professional sports. You can look at the sports news on almost any day and find situations and comments that would never have occurred twenty or thirty years ago. These issues are not endemic to any one sport, or race, or nationality. They flow directly from a sudden and unnatural infusion ofmoney into the human body.

During spring training for the 2006 baseball season, Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals baseball team refused to go into a game as the left fielder instead of his normal second-base position. Soriano did this despite the fact that his manager was Frank Robinson, one the greatest players of his time. His time, however, was not this time. Robinson was (and I assume is still) a very competitive, proud, and, sometimes combative man. I could only wonder, even at his age, what was going through his mind that day. He would probably have liked to take Soriano "out back," but you can't do it that way anymore. And by the way, Alfonso Soriano "earned" over $10 million per year. Left field, my ass.

Back in the NBA, the year 2005 saw a relatively new and unusual development among players and their agents. When the Houston Rockets traded (or thought they had traded) Jim Jackson to New Orleans Oklahoma City Hornets, Jackson refused to report to his new team. In 1970 baseball player Curt Flood had refused to report to his new team when he had been traded. He was taking a stand and challenging baseball tradition. However, this was not a Curt Flood-type incident.

Alonzo Mourning, who had incredibly just signed a five-year contract with the New Jersey Nets worth $25 million, was traded to the Toronto Raptors for Vince Carter. I say "incredibly" not because of any lack of ability on the part of Mourning, but because he had a kidney transplant only the year before. The Nets' signing of him was a very strong show of support to say the least and was in part the idea of the Nets star point guard, Jason Kidd. Mourning's gratitude for this gesture was to refuse to report to Toronto. Mourning wanted to keep the $25 million, but not in Toronto. He wanted to make his deposits in Miami. So he never went to Toronto. His punishment for this behavior was that he now had to earn his $25 million with the Miami Heat. There were strong indications that the Nets paid a large part of that salary as part of the conditions of the Toronto trade. As of this printing, Jason Kidd has paid none of that salary.

Jim Jackson avoided the Hornets completely and ended up exactly where he wanted to be, in Phoenix playing for a fifty-plus win team and in the playoffs.

Hey, if the teams and league let players do it, then you have to try. This has actually now become part of my job. If I don't try to get away with this in the future, my players will find someone who will.

The roots of these types of situations are not a mystery to me. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out. Money is at the core of it all, specifically, too much money. Common sense should tell you that once any person has significant sums of money at his disposal, he doesn't have to do anything. In essence, the league has bankrolled the players into a position of power. Therefore, the league literally has to ask if their employees will acquiesce and play in a particular city. Heaven forbid requesting a player to go all the way out to left field, somewhere they don't want to go or do something they don't want to do. Whereas players of previous eras had to work second jobs to literally "feed their families," that era is long gone, and it is a good thing, too.

Don't get me wrong—today's players deserve to be paid. They work incredibly hard. They work on their games and their conditioning year round now. They are able to do this because, unlike their predecessors, today's players don't have to get second jobs. They have money in the bank. The benefits of this development are obviously better conditioned players and great athletes. These sums of money are not just given to them. It is not the lottery. However, like many other slices of our culture, the salaries given to athletes today are like a pendulum. That pendulum has apparently swung too far, and the salaries bear no resemblance to reality.

Both of my parents were born and raised in Brooklyn. My mother was an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan. She would tell us that as she walked around her neighborhood, she would see Duke Snider in the candy store, or Jackie Robinson at the supermarket, or Pee Wee Reese at the cleaners. They were quite literally part of the community.



Continues...

Excerpted from Taking Shots by Keith Glass Copyright © 2007 by Keith Glass. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Jud Heathcote
“Interesting, insightful, humorous and factual—Taking Shots has it all! A must read for any and all basketball or sports fan.”
Phil Jasner
“I found myself only reading 20-25 pages at a time, because I didn’t want it to end too soon.”
Fran Fraschilla
“Taking Shots should be required reading for anyone who cares about the game.”
Bill Littlefield
“Glass has had some intriguing experiences as an agent for NBA players…he has some stories to tell…”
Paul Shirley
“Through humor, he expresses a fairly weighty opinion… Keith may have outsmarted us all with his covertly brilliant writing style.”
Bob Hurley
“I thought Keith Glass’s book was terrific. Taking Shots will now be required reading at St. Anthony’s.”

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