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READ: Loose Balls - Jayson Williams

Publisher: Bantam
Price: £14.99

Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs & True Love in the NBA. 

Welcome to the world of Jayson Williams. 

One of the best centres in the league before injuries forced him out, Williams was the boy from the hood who made it big but never quite left his old life behind.

HIs regular escapades both amused and confounded his coaches and team-mates. And for the first time, a giant from the inside lifted the lid on the lifestyle of rich and famous athletes with too mush time and money on their hands for good measure.

A witty raconteur, Williams - who often worked on a building site during his summer's vacation - recalls his journey around America and the people he met.

Fragile egos, the partying, the groupies, the stars and the guys who don't quite make it - this isn't the NBA which is packaged in soft focus for the small screen. This is reality, or Williams' version of it at least.

On European players: 'It's not like they smell bad naturally. But these guys when they first get to the US, it takes them a while to adopt American customs, like deodorant.' Say what?

On the Bucks: 'A Milwaukee Bucks game on a Monday night in the middle of December is about as exciting as going to your ex-girlfriend's third cousin's funeral. On a Sunday morning. Christmas Day.'

On alcohol: "Because of Charles Barkley, my liver is about the size of two footballs. Charlie could drink. Man could he drink. And the thing about Charlie is that he would stay out all night. All night.'

Bring the subject, Williams will bring the opinion.

It's not all fun and games. He also recounts the bickering which goes on between colleagues and the politics which win and lose contracts and can see coaches canned under player power.

And the thorny issue of race is never far away from the surface, even in a business where black power rules on court.

After retiring from the sport in 1999, Williams went on to have a successful stint as NBA analyst for NBC. However it ended when he was charged with the accidental killing of his chauffeur during a gathering at his home.

This must-read is where he came from. Who knows where he'll end up now?

Rating:  9/10

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