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.
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.