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    Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Per the Rag:

    DesMoinesRegister.com

    Ex-Cyclone writes about zany career

    Shirley's book No. 65 on Amazon


    By RICK BROWN
    Register Staff Writer
    May 24, 2007

    Baseball and reading were Paul Shirley's passions growing up in rural Kansas.



    "I admired the people who could churn out meaningful passages, but I never thought about becoming one,'' said Shirley, who played basketball at Iowa State from 1996 to 2001.

    "Can I Keep My Jersey?'' published by Random House and released last week, is Shirley's humorous, sarcastic and revealing tale of life as a basketball vagabond.

    The book takes readers on a four-season, five-country journey with 11 teams, and touches on some of his Iowa State experiences.

    "The book came about because of the journal entries I would send home from the various stops in my career,'' Shirley said. "After a while, I realized that people weren't responding with 'You should write a book' just to be nice. People were actually interested in what I had to write.''

    Instead of poring over box scores, Shirley now charts book sales.

    "It's really easy to get caught up in my Amazon sales ranking (No. 65 on Wednesday),'' Shirley said in an e-mail interview. "It's important that I remember that when all the hullabaloo dies down, I'll still have a book on my shelf until the day I die. And that's pretty cool.''

    Shirley's fluid career is best defined by his change of ZIP codes in 2004. The Chicago Bulls signed him when he was playing for Kansas City of the American Basketball Association. Shirley went from playing in Hale Arena, also a rodeo venue, to the United Center.

    "That transition will never be topped,'' Shirley said. "I had flashbacks to Hale Arena while playing an away game in Bruesa, Spain, this spring. We tussled in a 12,000-seat indoor bullfighting arena. The two places smelled strikingly similar.''

    Living on a yo-yo - the NBA to overseas - has been taxing but rewarding.

    "My itinerant lifestyle has been hell on my emotional stability (and my bankbook),'' Shirley said. "But at 29 I've experienced more highs and lows than most people will in their lives.''

    Shirley said he wouldn't trade his career for a six-year, $2 million deal.

    "The latter would have been more comfortable, but the life I've led has given me many more stories to tell to girls at the bar,'' he said.

    Shirley writes with a self-deprecating humor that is the result of the fragile nature of his career.

    "I haven't always been this way, or at least not to this degree,'' Shirley said. "But then I was released, fired or otherwise rejected many times. I think psychologists would classify my behavior as a defense mechanism.''

    Shirley's distaste for many NBA players is a recurring theme in the book.

    "I really do think they'll laugh (if they read it, which seems unlikely. I predict the participation rate to be around 4 percent),'' Shirley said. "People are afraid that there might be some backlash, but NBA players generally understand that they're participating in a circus.''

    Shirley labels one of his former Iowa State teammates, first-round NBA draft pick Marcus Fizer, "a genuine nut job'' in his book, but says that Fizer has grown up some.

    Shirley also writes: "Teammates I had in college were not afraid to come to practice drunk or to kick the odd policeman in the teeth from time to time.''

    He wouldn't name names.

    "I don't think specific identities matter,'' he said. "What matters is that it happened at all.''

    Shirley came to Iowa State from Meriden, Kan., on a National Merit Scholarship. He begged coach Tim Floyd not to let anyone know he was there for his brain.

    "I was definitely insecure about the stigma attached to being, technically, a walk-on,'' Shirley said. "I don't know that Kenny Pratt would have taken me very seriously if he had known that I was there on a National Merit Scholarship.''


    True and Valiant

    I also remember a game with Kansas when Cy (wore a huge suit then) went out to center field, squatted, and "pooped" a couple of chickens that had been dyed blue then chased them around.
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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    This is a little concerning:

    Shirley also writes: "Teammates I had in college were not afraid to come to practice drunk or to kick the odd policeman in the teeth from time to time.''
    Like we need more associations with our basketball program and alcohol.

    - keep.


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    May you only need 39 acres to turn your rig around. - keep

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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    I don't think "zany" should be used in a headline. It just sounds ridiculous to me.



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Paul Shirley spotting: I heard Paul on KKFI (community radio KC) this morning on the Morning Buzz show playing some of 'his music'. They mentioned he would be at a book signing at Barnes and Noble on the Plaza this evening. I'm tempted to wear my old ISU Big12 Champs tee shirt and show up...



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    I don't think it's a secret that we had some drinkers/smokers in our practices in the past. That was one of the few things I didn't like about LE. He pretty much allowed anything to go as long as they produced on the court.

    I've heard a story that it wasn't just practice either. Rumors were that there was a Big 12 game that a player or two showed up tipsy for. I don't know if it's true, though.


    A three legged dog walks into a bar and says, "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my paw."

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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    This is the first time I have ever seen Paul Shirley and "zaney" used in the same sentence!



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Quote Originally Posted by CLONE2THEBONE View Post
    I don't think it's a secret that we had some drinkers/smokers in our practices in the past. That was one of the few things I didn't like about LE. He pretty much allowed anything to go as long as they produced on the court.

    I've heard a story that it wasn't just practice either. Rumors were that there was a Big 12 game that a player or two showed up tipsy for. I don't know if it's true, though.
    This happens in all college athletics, not just at ISU.
    I've talked to guys that played at all sorts of schools and levels and they all have similar stories.


    Exaggeration is a BILLION times worse than understating.

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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Quote Originally Posted by CLONE2THEBONE View Post
    I don't think it's a secret that we had some drinkers/smokers in our practices in the past. That was one of the few things I didn't like about LE. He pretty much allowed anything to go as long as they produced on the court.

    I've heard a story that it wasn't just practice either. Rumors were that there was a Big 12 game that a player or two showed up tipsy for. I don't know if it's true, though.
    It's all about expectations from the top. Wanna bet The Chiz doesn't model or tolerate any of that kind of crap?



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    I finished the book last week - pretty good read. There is a lot of love for Tim Floyd, but really not much emphasis on Iowa State at all, just a couple comments here ... don't read it expecting a lot of cyclone insight. A enjoyable inside look at the professional basketballers life from someone who seems like he's an uncorrupted everyday joe



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    I just picked the book up last night and plan on reading it as i drive to Maryland next week....



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Quote Originally Posted by rworkman83 View Post
    I just picked the book up last night and plan on reading it as i drive to Maryland next week....
    :Shocked:

    I know there are some quiet stretches along I-80, but still...



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Quote Originally Posted by BvK1126 View Post
    :Shocked:

    I know there are some quiet stretches along I-80, but still...
    lol

    There are two of us driving....so yea...good catch though...



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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    I think I'll pass on Mr. Zany's book. Sounds like he should try to get on The View.


    Clone to the Bone with the up and coming IOWA STATE.

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    Re: Ex-Cyclone Shirley writes about zany career

    Quote Originally Posted by CLONE2THEBONE View Post
    I don't think it's a secret that we had some drinkers/smokers in our practices in the past. That was one of the few things I didn't like about LE. He pretty much allowed anything to go as long as they produced on the court.

    I've heard a story that it wasn't just practice either. Rumors were that there was a Big 12 game that a player or two showed up tipsy for. I don't know if it's true, though.
    I don't care if they smoke/drink, that's personal choices and if they do it while staying out of the law's way that's fine and the coach doesn't really need to do anything as long as they produce on the court AND (and its a big AND here) produce in the classroom. I am in college and have been drinking since about sophomore year of high school, never got in any trouble, never hurt anyone, it's just a social thing and I am sure I am not the only one in the state of iowa (where there isn't much else to do) as well as across the country to do so. College students all have choices to make, the choice just to drink is not always a wrong decision if you know what you are doing and are safe about it. The students just need to perform in the classroom and student athetes need to perform on the field/court as well.


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