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Sports to Writing Done Right – Paul Shirley



I’ll keep it short after yesterday’s marathon, promise.

After reading Paul Shirley’s book, I got in contact with him about the road from player to writer.  We’ve exchanged a couple emails here and there, so I thought I’d do a little email interview with him for the blog.  The following are a few excerpts from that:

(For those of you who don’t know, Paul spent some time on four NBA teams before playing all over Europe, hence the title of his bookCan I Keep My Jersey? – 11 teams, 5 countries and 4 years in my life as a basketball vagabond“.  He now writes for ESPN and runs Flip

One of those "too smart for sports" guys.

One of those "too smart for sports" guys.

I’m not fully sure on your playing status.  It sounds like you kinda wanna play/kinda don’t?  Only if the right thing comes along?

That makes two of us who are unsure.  The summary is that I’m staying in shape and open to the possibility of joining a European team for some part of this season.  Sadly, no one has put me in charge of one of those teams, so I have no way of knowing when or where that might happen.  I do know that I’m not willing to play in outposts or border towns, making my farewell tour the “No More Outposts” Tour.  I don’t think it will look good on T-shirts.


Are you able to be a fan of basketball, what with knowing what you know about how it’s run, how certain guys play/act, etc?

I’m only a fan because it’s entertaining to see players and coaches I
knew on television.  Because I’ve seen behind the proverbial curtain,
and understand that the NBA – like most things in life – is wholly
about turning a profit, the childlike glee that others are able to
affect when they watch a basketball game is remarkably absent from my
face as I sit in my basement and watch the Warriors and Clippers
bastardize the game.

Six feet, nine inches of journalistic prowess.

Six feet, nine inches of journalistic prowess.


You get one consequence-free face punch.  Who’s your recipient?

Bono.  I really, really liked U2 growing up.  Now I really, really
don’t like U2.

Want more Paul Shirley?  You can check out his weekly (mostly music) column for ESPN here or his newest non-sport based writing venture, Flip


On Friday, I did a little entry on Chad Brownlee.  We caught up yesterday, and apparently things are going even better than I originally thought.  His single cracked Canada’s Top 25 country chart, and he’s meeting with a few people about being a full-time singer/songwriter.


He shoots! He --- wait. ...Nope, no he doesn't...

He shoots! He --- wait. ...Nope, no he doesn't...

And last, the Islanders Josh Bailey has gone seven full games without recording a shot on net, as I tweeted yesterday (info provided by Isles beat bloggette, Katie Strang).  I’m sure you’re looking for some insight and analysis on what that’s like, what’s going on in his head, why the struggles… just something from a players angle.  Here’s what you get:

That’s just really, really effing awful.  I mean… the guy plays a regular shift.  I’m sure he’ll have some bright spots along the way, but man, as an offensive forward, if you aren’t even generating hope, you might just not be good enough.  Not saying he can’t get “there”, but I’m telling you, there’s no “yeah, but’s” that make that stat better.  It’s brutal.


 Check out my article on playing sick for USA Today!


One Response to “Sports to Writing Done Right – Paul Shirley”
  1. lazydaisies4u says:

    Great USA Today piece Justin! As a former athlete trying to get into sports medicine, it is always interesting to get other athletes’ perspectives on the health/sickness/injury side of sports. I love reading your stuff, keep it coming!

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