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
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.