Shaq Talks Back Mass Market Paperback – Feb 18 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Shaq's new book (after Shaq and the Beanstalk) is entertaining, controversial and funny, like its author. He recounts his life story, from his childhood in Newark through winning the 2000 NBA Championship. Shaq's prose is uneven and repetitive in patches, but he writes in an authentic and likable voice throughout. Unlike other sports autobiographies, in which a co-writer essentially invents an athlete's "writing style," Shaq's words are his own fans will recognize his distinctive, opinionated voice. The text is broken up by interludes written by important people in Shaq's life (from his mother to his personal cook). Those passages provide a change of tone and lend perspective to Shaq's story. He speaks frankly about his current and former teammates and coaches, as well as the state of the NBA and of the world in general. Some of the statements in this book could get him in trouble with his NBA colleagues, but Shaq's honesty is part of what makes him such fun to read. Though Shaq devotes a lot of the book to his life off the court (his movies, rap albums, celebrity life), there's enough basketball here to satisfy hardcore hoops junkies (fans will be especially intrigued by his analysis of last season's championship run). (Apr.) Forecast: Shaq's appealing personality, controversial statements and celebrity should endear this candid, bold book to basketball fans. It would probably do well even without much promotion, but with a national author tour and print advertising, big sales seem virtually assured.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Readers who feel the NBA today is rife with self-centered athletes will be pleasantly surprised to read this book by a young man who seems team oriented and, at most times, quite level-headed. His recent difficulties with Kobe Bryant, the other star of the Los Angeles Lakers, notwithstanding, O'Neal comes across as the leader of the defending NBA champions. In many ways, O'Neal has become as disciplined as his stepfather, a retired U.S. Army NCO, but there are still hints that there is a 15-year-old trying to break out of a 30-year-old's body. What is particularly revealing here is his discussion of his career in the league, focusing on the Lakers championship under Coach Phil Jackson. O'Neal is quite candid about his relationships with his coaches, particularly several he did not feel provided sufficient leadership. Also of interest is his candid appraisal of NBA players, past and present. O'Neal is a complex man who just recently earned a college degree from Louisiana State University and tells the story of his life in an entertaining fashion. The language is a bit rough, but the book is still recommended for public libraries. William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There are many memorable encounters played and replayed throughout the text, but for me, the one that best epitomizes Shaq's sporting philosophy is seen on pages 68-81. It relates to the famous 'International Incident of 1996', and O'Neal is candid about his pivotal role:
'I first saw him in Europe and I'll never forget his name; Teodor Dobrowski. He played center for the Warsaw Warriors and he was a giant. Great skills. Hands the size of frisbees. By all reports a standup guy. So when he told me he wanted to settle in America, I arranged for him to try out for the Lakers. Even let him stay at my place. Eat my food. Drink my beer. Date my girl. He wanted to show his gratitude so he offered to sell me his family castle in Krakow for only $7000. I gave him cash. Big mistake. There was no castle. Not even a family. The bum scammed me. So I stuck him on an ageing Aeroflot and wished him luck. All of it bad. End of story. And he got those cuts and bruises when he fell out of the cab on the way to the airport. Honest. If I'd known that diplomats would later be recalled, two embassies closed, the Secretary of State ordered back to Washington and the UN General Assembly reconvened, I might have actually paid the cabfare before running away at the terminal. Do I regret sending the grifter back to Warsaw? Never. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's being touched by a 10-foot Pole.'
When 'Shaq Talks Back', you'd better listen. Better still, read this wonderful book.
With that said, my objective opinion of the book is that it was half intrigue, and half boredom. I liked Shaq describe his childhood in New Jersey and all the hardships he and his family endured. I also enjoyed learning about all the drama that unfolded within the Laker organization when Del Harris was coaching the team. Shaq proves to be a daring author, not hesitating to tell the reader what he really feels about certain players, coaches, and members of management. I didn't really care for the play-by-play narration of the games that the Lakers played against the Indiana Pacers during the NBA Finals. It was long and unnecessary. Shaq also tends to repeat the same information over and over again. In fact, I can recall one instance where he said the same thing twice on the same page.
If you're a Shaq fan you'll enjoy this book. However, in strict literary terms, this book seems like the rough draft of something that should have been revised and drastically shortened. However, Shaq isn't really an author, so the reader has to keep this in mind and give him some leeway. Nevertheless, I still recommend this book.
As for the book, I ordered it expecting more of the same ole' boastful, jubilant can't get enough fun Shaq, and I found, in addition to all those things, a new Shaq that makes this book worth the read all the more. Written in a style that only Shaq could pull off, the book traces his life from NJ to the south and his time in high school, college, the Olympics and NBA. It gives the reader wonderful insight into a very public figure and clues you into why Shaquille O'Neal is Shaq.
As for the book's merits as non-fiction, many critics have poo-poo'd the book's informal tone and Shaqisms, but frankly, that makes it worth the read (it is a quick read, easily finished in a weekend). Who wants to read a book on Shaq in the third person, or the first person for that matter? Clearly, you want to read his autobiography in the Shaqperson! Admittedly, some of the one liners and especially his use of the beatnic term 'cat' are tiresome, but ultimately are worth the trouble.
Ultimately see a lot of things about Shaq that you don't catch on TNT or on the back of a trading card. Shaq is genuine, he is taking care of his family, he has learned to let the pundits be pundits (because that what they are paid to do), and is just trying to enjoy life. He has become a very impressive, very mature man, and I certainly respect him for that.
Bottomline: For the sportsfan or Shaqfan, this is a slam dunk.
Shaq expounds on life lessons he has learned, coming up in the 'hood and overseas, big tall, his money and more. The wit and wisdom of Shaq is truly unsurpassed in the entire catalog of autobiographies of active Western Conference NBA centers.
I have looked to a number of NBA greats for life lessons. For many years I tried to use Pat Riley's techniques to find my winner within, but frankly, to no avail. More recently, with some success, I have looked to Phil Jackson for spiritual advice while turning to Bill Bradley on the more mundane topics of anti-ballistic missile treaties and MAD, environmental policy, healthcare, and prescription coverage for our elderly. (I have a small anger management problem and I am looking forward to any advice either Latrell Sprewell or PJ Carlisimo may be able to provide.) But now I am all about the Big Aristotle - Shaq's words are all I need to make myself a winner on every level!
Most recent customer reviews
this book is complete garbage....it has no moral or purpose just a bunch of bragging(ALTHOUGH IM A BIG LAKER FAN!)Published on Nov. 10 2003 by Latrice S. Brooks
Shaq takes you through his earlydays growing up in Newark, New Jersey and talks about his familyand friends. Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2003
Absolutely the WORST book I've ever read. There's nothing like hearing a man worth over 100 million whine and sulk like a little tottler. Read morePublished on June 10 2002 by M. Howerton
Shaq talks back is the best book i've ever read! I've never really liked reading, but this book i could not put down. I loved reading the playoffs part of the book over and over. Read morePublished on April 30 2002
Shaq gives us a look at his life in Shaq talks back. Shaq, talks about what it was like growing up for him, what really went down with him and Penny, and the whole reason he left... Read morePublished on April 21 2002 by "July Lady"
I have to admit I didn't have very high expectations for Shaq's new book, however after starting the book I couldn't put it down. I read the entire book in one day. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2001 by T. Ron Scott
yO ShAq'Z NeW BoOk nEedZ To bE OfF StOrE sHElVeS uNtIl ThIz BroThA LeArNz hOW tO WrItE. aLl ThRoUgHToUt ThE bOoK He TaLkED aBoUt StUfF AnD aT ThE dRoP Of A dYmE hE wOuLD sWiTCh... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2001
I found this Book to be interesting.Shaq is one of the Few NBA Players to come clean on His Play&His Competition.I Dig His Honesty on various Topics. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2001 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD
i finished this book a couple of weeks and it was a work of art. shaq did a great job describing his life from birth to the nba. every chapter was brillant. Read morePublished on July 2 2001