The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James [NOOK Book]

Overview

"If there was an opportunity for me to return to Cleveland and those fans welcomed me back, that'd be a great story."—Lebron James

Scott Raab is a last vestige of Gonzo Journalism in an era when sanitary decorum reigns. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, Raab has chronicled—at GQ and Esquire—everything from nights out with the likes of Tupac and Mickey Rourke to a moral investigation into Holocaust death-camp guard Ivan the Terrible to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, but the book you hold in...

See more details below
The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

"If there was an opportunity for me to return to Cleveland and those fans welcomed me back, that'd be a great story."—Lebron James

Scott Raab is a last vestige of Gonzo Journalism in an era when sanitary decorum reigns. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, Raab has chronicled—at GQ and Esquire—everything from nights out with the likes of Tupac and Mickey Rourke to a moral investigation into Holocaust death-camp guard Ivan the Terrible to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, but the book you hold in your hands is neither a story nor a job: The Whore of Akron is the product of lifelong suffering, and a mission bound with the meaning of existence.

Raab sat in the lower bowl of Cleveland Stadium on December 27, 1964, when the Browns defeated the Colts for the NFL World Championship—the last sports title the declining city has won. He still carries his ticket stub wherever he goes, safely tucked within a Ziploc bag. The glory of that triumph is an easy thing to forget—each generation born in Cleveland is another generation removed from that victory; an entire fan base "whose daily bread has forever tasted of ash."

LeBron James was supposed to change all that. A native son of Akron, he was already world famous by the age of seventeen, had already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, was already worth $90 million to Nike. He seemed like a miracle heaven-sent by God to transform Cleveland's losing ways. That the Cavaliers drafted him, the hometown prodigy, with the first pick of the 2003 draft, seemed nothing short of destiny. But after seven years—and still no parade down Euclid Avenue—he left. And he left in a way that seemed designed to twist the knife: announcing his move to South Beach on a nationally televised ESPN production with a sly title ("The Decision") that echoed fifty years of Cleveland sports futility.

Out of James's treachery grew a monster. Raab, a fifty-nine-year-old, 350-pound, Jewish Santa Claus with a Chief Wahoo tattoo, would bear witness to LeBron's every move, and in doing so would act as the eyes and ears of Cleveland itself. (He did not keep this intentions a secret and was promptly banned by the Miami Heat.)

The Whore of Akron is an indictment of a traitorous athlete and the story of Raab's hilarious, profane (and profound) quest to reveal the "wee jewel-box" of LeBron James's very soul.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

As the title indicates, Cleveland Cavaliers fans did not take the departure of basketball superstar LeBron James lightly. They joined a degrading nickname, set up angry websites, picketed, distributed petitions, burned his jersey, and constructed at least one hostile billboard. Cleveland native Scott Raab decided that the only way to track the betrayal of the man they called "the whore of Akron" was to track the culprit, even if it meant contributing to Miami Heat box office receipts. This is the story of one man and the obsession of another.

Publishers Weekly
Sports fandom is hard, especially in a perennially losing city like Cleveland. For a lifelong Clevelander like Raab (Real Hollywood Stories), the only hope of becoming a championship city again fell to local lad Lebron James. Raab planned to profile the superstar as he led the Cavs to an NBA Championship. Instead, the Cavs fizzled in the playoffs and James took advantage of his free agency to announce "The Decision" (a one-hour ESPN event) to play for the Miami Heat. While James was given a bigger contract and a better chance of winning rings, Cleveland fans were outraged-with Raab their loudest voice. Rather than the intended glowing profile, the book becomes a rant against greed and disloyalty as Raab follows the "soul-dead bumpkin" in his first season with Miami. Between denouncing James and cursing other Cleveland sports villains like Art Modell, Raab shares memories of childhood and battles with drug addiction. While his fanaticism is often hard to swallow, Raab raises important questions about the prerogatives of those in modern sports.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Awl.com
The Whore of Akron isn’t really about basketball. It’s about addiction and sobriety, marriage and divorce, childhood and parenthood, loyalty and autonomy.”
Fortune
“A searing manifesto that is impressively pointed and, in the end, even feels fair—not balanced, of course, but justified. . . . . Whether you’re convinced [of LeBron’s treachery] depends not on whether you care about Cleveland sports, but if you care about sports at all. . . . . Hilarious invective and smart commentary.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Hilarious.”
Parade
“A hilarious and profane love letter to fandom, faith, loyalty, and sports in America.”
Slate
“A modern-day Portnoy’s Complaint. Standing in for the piece of liver is LeBron James.”
New York Times
“A powerful storyteller in full command of his game...wonderfully immoderate.”
New York Post
“There is more passion, anger and sublime writing in Scott Raab’s The Whore of Akron than any 50 other books you’ll read this (or any other year) combined.”
Time
“[A] pleasure to read. Raab is an inspired, energetic writer. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a poignant exploration of sports fandom. It’s insane. . . . . And it’s also redeeming. . . . . After reading The Whore of Akron, you’ll be hard pressed to think sports don’t matter.”
NPR
“[The Whore of Akron] is very funny. It is also wise...If you’ve a taste for the sort of overstatement Raab shares with the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, this is perhaps the sports book for you. Keep it on a shelf the kids can’t reach.”
Sports Illustrated
“A (very heated) Fan’s Notes. . . . . Rollicking and profane. . . . . Raab’s sustained attack on James is diverting, [but] it is the author’s self-portrait of a man and a fan of serious extremes, one who loves his wife and son as fiercely as he hates most of the rest of the world, that engrosses.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“In pursuing James pre- and post-‘Decision’ . . . . the author never does complete the subtitle’s mission to find James’ soul. Instead, Raab . . . . discovers his own. And, in some twisted sense, maybe ours, too.”
Jeff MacGregor
“The book is both poem and polemic, a lyrical inventory of rage and appetite and loss.”
Time Magazine
"[A] pleasure to read. Raab is an inspired, energetic writer. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a poignant exploration of sports fandom. It’s insane. . . . . And it’s also redeeming. . . . . After reading The Whore of Akron, you’ll be hard pressed to think sports don’t matter."
Will Blythe
“[A] splenetic wonder…For all of its rousing, air-clearing invective, The Whore of Akron is strangely celebratory, making a particuclarly Jewish-American case for family and place, and for waiting and hoping past the point of reason.”
Buzz Bissinger
The Whore of Akron is hilarious, heartfelt and wincingly honest. This is the best kind of book, one that surprises.”
Stefan Fatsis
“With all due respect to Frederick Exley, Scott Raab has just written the smartest, funniest, most passionate, loving, hateful, bathetic, honest, and deeply personal sports jeremiad slash memoir of our time…The Whore of Akron is about a basketball player the way Moby-Dick is about a whale.”
Dan Klores
“Genius. . . . . Raab is Hunter S. Thompson, Wolfe, and Breslin; every bit as messed up, alienated, angry, bitchy, cruel, and angelic. . . . . The Whore of Akron is a masterpiece.”
Philip Roth
“As far as I know, a LeBron James is a hat worn by men in the 1920s.”
Jason Gay
“Indelicate and unhinged...The Whore of Akron soars because Raab is unflinchingly honest, naked with emotions and embarrassments most of us keep penned inside.....at its heart, this is a book about loyalty, and why attachments count. Basketball could use a little more of Raab’s disorderly passion.”
The Onion
The Whore of Akron reads like Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes on brown acid. Raab is a bastard, but he’s a funny bastard.”
Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Raab sure-footedly turns his monolithic hatred for Mr. James and devotion to Cleveland into a vehicle for exploring his struggles with drugs and alcohol, the mental illness and abandonment that have haunted his family, questions of faith and Jewish identity and the joy of fatherhood.”
Sports Illustrated
“A (very heated) Fan’s Notes...Rollicking and profane...Raab’s sustained attack on James is diverting, [but] it is the author’s self-portrait of a man and a fan of serious extremes, one who loves his wife and son as fiercely as he hates most of the rest of the world, that engrosses.”
Library Journal
LeBron James, basketball player nonpareil and a native of Akron, OH, signed an NBA contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, offering promise to a Rust Belt city not known for successful sports teams (its baseball, basketball, and football teams have had no world championships since a 1964 NFL championship that Raab attended). After seven seasons with no NBA titles for James, he "took his talents" to Miami in 2010 to pursue a championship with Chris Bosh, defecting from the Toronto Raptors, and Dwyane Wade. The television special in which he revealed "The Decision," and the move itself, were widely seen as flagrantly self-serving, and James's popularity took a hit in both Cleveland and throughout NBA Nation. This book is a primal scream against James, during the course of which we also learn a lot about the author—more than we learn about the player. Raab (writer at large, Esquire) writes about his morbid obesity, family difficulties, and substance abuse problems, wearing it all on his sleeve, along with his love for Cleveland, and keeping the narrative going. VERDICT Sports fans with an inclination for the offbeat will enjoy this, and the title alone should make it in demand in northern Ohio and beyond. [See Prepub Alert, 5/16/11.]—Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL
Kirkus Reviews
An embittered, lifelong Cleveland fan chronicles the painful departure of LeBron James from the Cavaliers, taking stock of his own life in the process. Among long-suffering fan bases, Cleveland sports fans can make a legitimate claim to the top spot. With no championships to celebrate since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964 (in the pre–Super Bowl era), they have suffered an ignominious procession of near misses and heartbreaking defeats in football, baseball and basketball. When James, perhaps the most physically gifted basketball player ever to grace the hardwood--and a native son from nearby Akron to boot--was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003, all of that miserable history seemed likely to end. Unfortunately for Esquire writer Raab (Real Hollywood Stories: Inside the Minds of 20 Celebrities, With One A-list Writer, 2008) and his tortured brethren, the next seven years would bring only more pain, with James leading the Cavs to only one NBA Finals appearance, where they came up short. In the summer of 2010, the King took his talents to South Beach, and the author decided to take matters into his own hands, chronicling the now-hated icon's quest to win a championship with the Miami Heat. Raab hurls intricate helixes of epithet-laden invective at James, though each profane outburst feels less cathartic than it should (the book's title comes from one such verbal haymaker launched on Twitter). Instead, it's the author's blunt evaluation of his own life--including his battles with alcohol, drugs, weight and relationship problems--that resonates as a mirror for Cleveland's own festering decay and constant struggle. Unlike Cleveland, though, Raab can take solace in the fact that he finally found a good woman and fathered a son, championship victories denied his beloved Cleveland--that, and the fact that James failed in his first attempt to win a championship in Miami. The vitriol wears thin, but sharp writing makes this a worthwhile read for fans who know Cleveland's pain.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062066381
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Scott Raab, a writer-at-large for Esquire since 1997, is a graduate of Cleveland State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has been widely anthologized, including in The Best American Sports Writing. Born and bred in Cleveland, he now lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. This is his first book.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Intimations 1

2 The Handshake and the Handjob 27

3 Witness 51

4 The King's Humanity 73

5 Coins on a Cold Grave 93

6 Chief Wahoo and the Whore of Akron 123

7 This Could Be Their Year, Scotty! 141

8 Hater Daze 155

9 Jew over Miami 169

10 This Way Lies Madness 187

11 Little Access for a Big Man 201

12 The Traitor's on the Floor 217

13 Franz Kafka Bobblehead Night 235

14 A Strange White Man at Center Court 253

15 Endgame 277

Acknowledgment 301

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 19, 2011

    What a Hoot!

    Scott Raab is spot on with his insights as to how the latest superstar took a dump on the city of Cleveland in particular and abandoned scruples in general with his televised "decision" to take his loser soul to the promised land. Irreverently written, but no more so than is necessary to describe the feelings of the countless number of Cleveland sports fans over the age of 50 who have once known the taste of victory only to have lost that taste forever due to the antics of pompous blowhards like James, Modell, et al. Fun to read, I chuckled out loud many times while reading all 184 pages. Thank you, Scott Raab.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 2, 2013

    LEBRON IS BUT A MAN!

    One man does not make a team. One mane does not win championships! LeBron James wanted something he could not get in Cleveland and onstead of acting like mature adults everyone dumps on him. He wanted a ring. He would not get in cleveland. If the talent was there Cleveland would have been a contender without Lebron. Why was he expected to do something that nobody would ever do? Sacrifice his desire for the greed of someone else. All his haters jumped on the band wagon and drank the kool aid of those who were mad and still are because they are no longer making the money off of Lebron James' name. He worked hard for many years in Cleveland and what did he get for it? True fans are fans no matter what. Haters and leeches are a dime a dozen. Actually the true whores are those who sold their "souls" and continue to sell themselves to make a buck of others. Seems to me Lebron earns his money by working hard.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 18, 2012

    Dont talk trash about lebron when all u can do is right a book about it and cry

    Lebrons #1 no matter what

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 16, 2012

    This Book Is Terrible

    Lebron James is the best person in the world I dont like you insaulting him like that

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Love it

    Love it

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 1, 2012

    1

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 16, 2011

    Great story for any real sports fan!

    As a sports fan and self described "fanatic," this book is a MUST read!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Emwe

    Xx

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

    Posted September 29, 2013

    MTt to all

    You INCREDIBLE TOOL BAGS! HOW DARE YOU INSULT THE KING? CLEVELAND SUCKED BALL SACKS! SO HE LEFT SO HE COULD GET RINGS! THE BEST PLAYERS HE HAD WER A33 YEAR OLD SHAQ AND A DUDE NAMED ZYDRUNAS ILLGAUSKAS! HE STILL HELPS OHIO! SO SHOVE YOUR IDEA THAT LEBRON SUCKS UP YOUR ASSS!!!!

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

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Great read

    Great book. I'm not a fan of james, I find him to be incredibly overrated. To be fair, though, most of the players play for money and recognition. They might really love what they do but in the end they'll play for whichever team pays them more.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 17 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)