Paul Shirley Rumors

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Paul Shirley
Paul Shirley
Position: -
Born: 12/23/77
Height: 6-10 / 2.08
Weight:229 lbs. / 104.3 kg.
Earnings: $29,832 ($42,475*)
How different of a writing process did you find this book to be compared with your previous one? Paul Shirley: My first book was a far more haphazard affair; it was more a collection of my journal entries. There was a through line in that as I moved through the four years of basketball chronicled therein, I got more and more disenchanted with professional sports. But I’d say about two people picked up on that. This book was more cohesive, as a project. Its beginning was nebulous, in that it occurred to me that I had a whole bunch of stories that I often tell on dates, but the process was more regimented: draft, edit, draft, edit, etc. It also helped (I think) that I spent about four years working on a novel that is now in the trash. And even though that book will never see a bookshelf, it helped me learn how to tell stories. Or rather: learn more about how to tell stories.
What motivated you to write such a personal book? Paul Shirley: The only truths that are relatable are the honest and vulnerable ones. I was lucky to have an editor (Katie Savage) and an early reader (Matteson Perry) who pushed me to always dive back into vulnerability. Thanks to their help, I was able to more quickly recognize when I was trying to portray myself a certain way, as opposed to telling the truth and letting the reader come to his or her own conclusion.
Paul Shirley: Then the general manager from Panionios called. I assumed he wanted some bank account info, so the team could send over that sweet cash. I rubbed my hands together, Daddy Warbucks-style. “When will you come back?” the general manager asked. Um, what? This was the offer he made: if I returned to Athens, the team would wire $20,000 of the $53,000 they owed me. The remaining $33,000 would be spread out over the life of the coming year’s payments. “That’s one big avrio,” I said. The general manager laughed at my in-joke. Then he said the magic words, his voice low and syrupy. “Trust me, Paul.”
Paul Shirley: I’d like to say that I hung up immediately. But the truth is that I almost went for it. As strange as my year there had been, Greece was a reassuring constant in the equation representing my basketball career. The Atlanta Hawks, on the other hand, were an ugly, intimidating variable – an x that still needed to be plucked from an unholy polynomial. I didn’t have a spot on the team; I’d be fighting for practice time again, just like the year before in camp with the Lakers. There was one other factor at work: the Greeks’ preternatural capacity for salesmanship. There was something about the people – maybe it was their accent, maybe it was their history – that made me want to trust them, despite the fact that I’d spent the year getting burned by that trust. But then I recalled the half-weight envelopes, the stocking caps, and my breakup with Demetra, which had been predicated on the idea that I had to move forward if I was going to have the career I wanted
Paul Shirley: In addition to my short stints in the NBA, I also got to play a bunch of basketball in Europe — for one team in Greece, one team in Russia and three teams in Spain. Playing in Europe had its drawbacks, like that the team in Greece still owes me $52,000. But when I wasn’t lamenting losses of small fortunes, I was getting an invaluable education. I learned, for example, that most Europeans value different things than most Americans — things like family, community, and really long dinners that might not end before midnight. These values were reflected in the way European teams played basketball. There were fewer “stars” in Europe. Some people put this down to contract structure; usually, players’ contracts are within shouting distance of one another. But I would argue that it’s the other way around. The contracts are built this way because of the culture, which values interpersonal relationships far more than we do.
Paul Shirley: But we also traffic proudly in individualism, in the worship of self-sufficiency and in the stubborn belief that the world is (or should be) a meritocracy. Those attitudes seep into our sports, by way of our discussions of which player is “elite,” by way of our celebration of max contracts over max effort, and even by way of the manner we use when talk about the games those players play: never the Washington Wizards against the New York Knicks; always John Wall and the Washington Wizards against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. It’s no wonder Bradley Beal and John Wall don’t like each other. It’s no wonder I encountered zero NBA locker rooms where the players wanted to see each other after the games. It’s no wonder those biographies I read as a child would have to be fiction if they were written now.