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The Sixth Man The standout memoir from NBA powerhouse Andre Iguodala the indomitable sixth man of the champion Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala is one of the most admired players in the NBA And fresh off the Warriors' third NBA championship in the last four years his game has never been strongerOff the court Iguodala has earned respect too for his successful tech investments his philanthropy and increasingly for his contributions to the conversation about race in America It is no surprise then that in his first book Andre with his cowriter Carvell Wallace has pushed himself to go further than he ever has before about his life not only as an athlete but about what makes him who he is at his core The Sixth Man traces Andre's journey from childhood in his Illinois hometown to his Bay Area home court today Basketball has always been there But this is the story too of his experience of the conflict and racial tension always at hand in a professional league made up largely of African American men; of whether and why the athlete owes the total sacrifice of his body; of the relationship between competition and brotherhood among the players of one of history's most glorious championship teams And of what motivates an athlete to keep striving for once they've already achieved the highest level of play they could have dreamedOn drive on leadership on pain on accomplishment on the shame of being given a role and the glory of taking a role on This is a powerful memoir of life and basketball that reveals new depths to the superstar athlete and offers tremendous insight into most urgent stories being told in American society today I'm a fan so I was going to love it Loved hearing his thoughts on race and which players influenced him Also four stars for any glowing assessments of Allen Iverson Good read “I’ve always loved reading It came from my mother Reading was simply a nonnegotiable in my house If you weren’t reading you weren’t achieving The other thing we read at home was the newspaper This also came from my mom She insisted on it She made sure we were keeping ourselves educated I learned to be interested in world affairs business culture and media I learned how stories were told and how media and journalism worked We were well educated well mannered well taken care of and critical thinkers”On the first day of seventh grade I walked into my first period classroom We had been given our bell schedule the day before and I was excited to sit down and get started on a new yearBut I knew something was off because when I walked into the room I noticed that all the other kids were whiteI had been placed in the honors track I didn’t yet think a lot about why it was that the honors track meant all white students except for meThe teacher stopped me almost immediately “I think you might be in the wrong classroom dear” she said “Nope Right one” I still wasn’t really aware of what was happening Obviously I had read my schedule and knew which classroom I was supposed to go to That’s just basic Still she seemed unconvinced “Are you sure?” “Yes I’m sure ha ha” This whole thing was silly I was already headed for a seat thinking this little interaction was over But it wasn’t for her She followed behind me “Can you show me your schedule hon?” she said This time she seemed a little forceful It was then that I started to understand I presented her the schedule I had crumpled in my hand She looked it over for a moment “Ah OK” she said uietly “Take your seat then” Did I really get asked to show my papers?The freedom to be unaware of racism simply doesn’t last long if you’re blackand yes colleges do ruthlessly exploit amateur athletes while some coaches get 7 figure paychecks the school rakes in the alumni donations and the sports TV media make a mint They should be paid If they don't make to the Bigs and very few do they have been used and left broke the media are wolves With 247 coverage and sports media full of hacks who live off of or even make up rumors and too many so called analysts the media is a pain in the ass to athletes and annoying to some of us fans Many are simply jealous they don't make the money that these athletes do Philly is a brutal town to play a sport in any sport because the fans are so nasty and well they have the media as described above As an example Iguodala mentions a long interview he did with Sports Illustrated He says SI got it right but some in the Philly media took some of his comments about a teammate out of context and made him look as if he was attacking his teammate This got the Philly fan base roiled up all over again over what was essentially a lieThe fans and press in Philadelphia are like the fans and press nowhere else And that’s a good thing None of us could stand it if the whole country was like that the officiating was blatantly biasedKevin Durant was averaging eight or nine free throws a game in Oklahoma City In his first year with us he averaged six Steph over his career all with the Warriors has averaged between four and five free throws per game and I’ve watched him come into practice the next day with uarter inch deep gashes on his arms from plays that were not called It’s hard to imagine a back to back MVP unanimous the second time only getting to the line a handful of times per game like that Most guys who average 30 points a game shoot way free throwsI recently had an assistant coach from another team text me after we played them He and I went way back to my teenage years He wanted to congratulate us on keeping our composure during the game “What do you mean?” I asked “Our game plan” he said “is just to foul the shit out of you We tell our guys every time out just foul the ball handler every time We know they’re not going to call it”So we know that the scouting report on us for most teams is essentially rough them up Knock them around They’re not going to get the callsEven though this had been my sense all along it was still surprising to hear it so obviously stated by someone else in the league Why would this even be the case? Does the league feel like we’re too good? Like we could just blow teams out which would drive down viewership?Some reality checkBasketball is often for people who have no other choice If you genuinely have other options you wouldn’t go as far and face as much You play for fun but once it gets serious once it becomes life or death most people will if they can find something a little stable and a little less critical to do with their livesAnd if you happen to follow pro basketball you will know how the Warriors franchise signed off on putting Kevin Durant into a play off game where a resulting achilles injury may have have ruined his career The franchise may have realized he was moving on anyway so let's try to sueeze out of him before he goes The reality is that this system of professional sports is set up to sueeze literally every last thing it can out of the horses When that much money is at stake for that many people your personal health and well being is going to take a back seat to their bottom line This is why guys are on the sideline getting pain pills and injections going to surgeries getting cartilage and bones and ligaments rebuilt trying every random weird experimental treatment under the sun just to get back out there and play The human body was not naturally meant to bang up and down a court for eighty two games It just wasn’t You have to break yourself in order to do that You have to in a sense break natureThe exploitation and injuries start early in AAU Amateur Athletic Association basketball In his book Igoudala criticizes AAU and the NBA commissioner agreeshttpswwwespncomnbastoryid2 Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group for the advanced digital review copy of this book Coming into this book I had uite a measure of respect for Andre Iguodala and was interested to read about his life and career from his point of view Unfortunately after reading the book I wish that I had not The beginning of the book is uite interesting and talks about his youth and experiences growing up Unfortunately the rest of the book seems to be his opportunity to air his grievances with every facet of society he thinks has wronged him First its the college system as they don't pay their players fair enough but a bit complex than he makes out Then its the NBA owners because even though they are paying him millions of dollars they are still making generally how business works and finally he tees off on the referees who are apparently biased against Golden State because they are the champions and because all the referees are white men In summary I would recommend that you avoid this one unless you are an absolute die hard Warriors or Andre Iguodala fan Basketball is uniue in one way in that a player can become even famous when he is no longer in the starting line up and instead will come off the bench to contribute in a valuable manner to his or her team One player who has done that is Andre Iguodala While he was a very good player as a starter for the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets he became even noticed as the sixth man for the team that has won three of the last four NBA championships the Golden State Warriors He tells the story of his life his career and his take on some of today’s issues in the game in this excellent memoir with Carvelle Wallace While the writing may not be as crisp as some other memoirs what I found refreshing about this book is the Iguodala was very candid about every topic he addressed Whether it was whether college athletes should be paid the point in his career when he truly realized that professional sports are a business and not just a game how the public believes athletes should communicate in the media or racial issues Iguodala lets the reader know up front that this is his viewpoint and how he sees the particular issue The latter two topics come up in the incident in which I believed that this book went from good to excellent and that was when he used a phrase that sounded like one used from the days of slavery when he answered a uestion on the relationship between a head coach and the players He didn’t back off of his comment he didn’t take swipes at those who criticized his remarks and there were plenty and his explanation of it was consistent with his stance on his viewpoints earlier expressed on racial matters and the ways in which professional athletes are expected to conduct themselves None of them are really shocking or reveal new material but are excellent to read for the sheer rawness of exposing his feelings When he praised Curt Flood who challenged baseball’s reserve clause in 1970 it showed that he has studied the history of these subject extensively and his comment that every professional athlete should thank Flood for them being able to enjoy the freedoms and riches they have today was profound Of course he talks about basketball in the book a lot as well as these other issues On this topic he is uite fluid as well This part of the book does follow the tried and true formula of chronicling the highlights of each level of basketball played His reflections on his time at the University of Arizona and what coach Lute Olson did for and to him were very interesting to read as it can be the case for many college basketball players but was something I had never read before Iguodala’s time in Philadelphia was marked with many ups and downs both on the court where the 76ers enjoyed some moderate success and off the court with his relationship with the fans and press an ongoing drama After a brief time in Denver he signed with the Warriors as a free agent and his accounting of his time with Golden State is one in which he really learns what it is like to share the spotlight with superstar players He explains how these players like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant not only are excellent players but how they each contribute to the success of the team on the court and in the public eye Any fan of the current NBA game especially Warriors fans will want to read this book about the team’s vital sixth man and how he sees the world of professional basketball It is a book that once a reader starts it will be very hard to put down I wish to thank Blue Rider Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewhttpssportsbookguyblogspotcom20

  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • The Sixth Man
  • Andre Iguodala
  • English
  • 04 July 2016
  • 9780525533986

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