Foul Lines: A Pro Basketball Novel

Jack McCallum, Author, L. Jon Wertheim, Author . Touchstone $14 (319p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8650-3

Years of behind-the-scenes reporting fuel this fast, funny basketball exposé from Sports Illustrated writers McCallum and Wertheim, covering ground both expected (race, sex, the press) and unexpected (reality TV, PR, cars). When the Los Angeles Lasers recruit Yale whiz kid Jamal Kelly to replace their suddenly deceased director of public relations, Jamal finds himself struggling to keep a level head while managing the team brand and the hot shots behind it: players, execs, coaches and one very eccentric team owner. Shocked and seduced by a world of pro sports glitz (strip club lunches, exclusive parties in the Hollywood hills, etc.), Jamal finds support from sexy L.A. Times sports reporter Jilly Forrester and slumping team captain Lorenzen "Lo" Mayne, as well as his own down-and-out brother, Zeke. McCallum and Wertheim take very funny jabs at corporate sponsorship, racialized posturing and professional entitlement. They also manage to cram in the stories of an impressively large cast as they try to deal with the conflicting spheres of team, families and lovers. When a secret that three players have been harboring suddenly surfaces, Jamal must choose between star power and what he knows is right. There's enough plot tension to keep things moving, but it's the insider details that give the book punch. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/02/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7432-8871-2
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