CALLING THE SHOTS: My Five Decades in the NBA by Earl with Blaine Johnson Strom

CALLING THE SHOTS: My Five Decades in the NBA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

After more than 30 years as a referee in the NBA, Strom has seen it all--and tells a great deal of it in these colorful memoirs of his first season, in 1957, through his retirement at the end of the 1989-90 campaign. Never one to mince words, Strom, with the help of Blaine Johnson of the (Tacoma) News Tribune, makes clear his low opinion of today's officiating and his distaste for current referee supervisor Darell Garretson. He looks back fondly to the days of Sid Borgia, Norm Drucker, and the great Mendy Rudolph. Garretson, who once promised there would be no more double, ""twee-tweet"" whistles once Strom retired, ""has tried to sterilize the personalities of officials,"" and, according to Strom, has attempted since taking office in 1981 to institute a standardization and regimentation of interpretation of the rules that would disallow what Strom calls the ""pro call."" A referee's job, Strom says, is to use his judgment, to ""keep the game moving"" and ""let 'em play."" Strom frequently ignored ""incidental contact"" and other minor infractions if they did not affect the outcome of play. His philosophy and volatile personality also often put him in the midst of controversy; here, he recalls (with a fair measure of humor) his celebrated battles with Boston's Red Auerbach and Philadelphia coach Alex Hannum--and with a few fans, officials, players, etc. His vivid recollections of the great Bill Russell-Wilt Chamberlain matchups, and of the game's other greats, such as Bob Cousy, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Julius Erring, and Jerry West, provide a fresh, on-the-court viewpoint. Charming, humorous, and often bitingly critical, Strom's memoirs should win both friends and enemies alike.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster