12.27.11

Henry Abbott’s Middling Review Of Dan Gilbert’s #1 Sports Book Of 2011

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 12:11 am by

Along with reviewing Harvey Araton’s widely acclaimed ‘When The Garden Was Eden’, True Hoop‘s Henry Abbott tackled the assignment of Scott Raab’s anti-LeBron tome, ‘The Whore Of Akron‘ in yesterday’s New York Times.   Raab (above, whose King James-baiting has extended from Esquire to Twitter to nu-media stunts, is in the view of Abbott, “a powerful storyteller in full command of his game”.  The game in question being “assassinating the character of James”.

“When he wore a Yankees cap to Jacobs Field,” Mr. Raab writes of James, “for the opener of a playoff series between the Tribe and the Yankees in 2007 — and was interviewed during the game on national television, still wearing the cap — I wrote him off as worthless scum.” Mr. Raab is incensed that every other Cleveland fan is not also incensed. It is inconceivable to him that James could be both a decent person and an unabashed Yankees fan.

The book’s subtitle may be “One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James,” but missing is meaningful new insight into this player who left the Cavaliers in 2011 for the Miami Heat. Mr. Raab set out to follow James’s first season with the Heat, but his reputation as a hater preceded him, which meant he had precious little access. He reports on incidents as seen from the stands and heard in Miami diners, and at one point recounts a hilarious Valium- and Vicodin-induced “conversation” with a dog named Pip.

The book is far more about Mr. Raab than about James, but Mr. Raab has plenty of his own drama to supply: a bully from a broken home, he later dealt drugs by the pound to bikers in Texas. We learn about his various medical challenges and more than you would expect about his sex life.

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