Celebrating the wit, wisdom and whimsy of playing the game well- or sometimes very badly.
Basketball players may just be the most talented athletes in all of team sports. But in truth, it's a simple game. As legendary NCAA coach Abe Lemons remarked, "There are really only two plays, 'Romeo and Juliet' and put the darn ball in the basket."
Big Guys Don't Shrink is packed with great quotes from today's top stars, insights from the legends of the game, and one-liners from a parade of coaches. Complementing them are color photos of some of the sport's best known figures.
A small sampling of the more than 400 quotes:
These quotes mix the hilarious (intentional or not) with the sarcastic and include laugh-out-loud zingers. Among the many basketball greats quoted are Charles Barkley, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Dennis Rodman, Steve Nash, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird.
Eric Zweig is a sports historian and sports journalist who compiled four other Firefly Quotes and Quips titles: Drive Like Hell; Home Plate Don't Move; Gentleman, This is a Football; Par for the Course.
"I'm not talking any more. That's it. No more words. It's over. Wanna know the deal? Mum is the word here. My game talks and conversation walks... I'm basically a quiet guy who keeps to himself. I don't like to talk."
You just know there must have been media people listening to this who were dying to say -- like Yosemite Sam or Rocky the Gangster to Bugs Bunny -- "Shut up shutting up." Fortunately for me, no one ever says that to professional athletes. If they did, there's no way that I would now have compiled five different sports titles for this series of books!
I'll be honest. Basketball is not my favorite sport. Not to play, anyway. I've enjoyed watching it over the years (especially during the time of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird), but I am a horrible basketball player. Ever since I saw an open lane to the basket, grabbed the ball and made a football-style run for it in a grade school game, I have known that basketball was not the sport for me. Which was something of a shame, given that I grew fairly tall at a pretty young age.
Of course, 6 foot 1 is only pretty tall in the real world. I was certainly taller than any of my friends, but I knew I was only as tall as the Boston Celtics' Nate Archibald, and they called him Tiny! That kind of kept things in perspective. On the other hand, I am actually taller than the only NBA player I have ever met in person. Vinnie Johnson of the Detroit Pistons was called The Microwave because "he heats up fast" when he came in off the bench. Websites list him as 6 foot 2, but I swear he was shorter than I am.
Despite my lack of basketball prowess, I have twice been mistaken for Kevin McHale. Admittedly, neither occurrence came on the court. The first time probably doesn't count as I think it was actually a joking reference to the way we both bounce when we walk. But the second time a hotel clerk in suburban Detroit did a double take before telling me he'd thought I was Kevin McHale. Now that's just crazy talk really! McHale is 6 foot 10 and about the only thing we actually have in common is white skin and dark hair.
Being only a casual basketball fan I wasn't really sure if I would find the same treasure trove of offbeat remarks I had found for my books about other sports. I needn't have worried. Even if there had been nothing else, the frustrated offerings of a parade of burned-out basketball coaches from the college and professional ranks could probably have filled a book. "I always mean what I say," University of North Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith once confided, "but I don't always say what I'm thinking." Fortunately, there are lots of others who seem only too happy to spout off every thought that comes into their heads! Among players, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley (now an outspoken broadcaster) are particularly vocal, and usually hilarious. In a sport like basketball, though, mere words aren't always enough. "I feel bad," said Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, "that my words don't do justice to what he did," after LeBron James scored 29 of his team's last 30 points in a double-overtime playoff victory in 2007.
This book isn't quite as exciting as that, but I hope you'll enjoy it.
Table of Contents
Ain't It the Truth