Despite the multiple sports explored and the large cast of characters, Futterman develops his theme seamlessly in a book...

PLAYERS

THE STORY OF SPORTS AND MONEY, AND THE VISIONARIES WHO FOUGHT TO CREATE A REVOLUTION

In his debut, Wall Street Journal reporter Futterman explains how American professional athletes in a variety of sports morphed from poorly paid to multimillionaire status in the span of just a few decades.

The author devotes the first quarter of the book to the entrepreneurial genius of the fascinating Mark McCormack, a Cleveland lawyer who essentially invented the occupation of full-time sports agent. The obsessive-compulsive McCormack persuaded a young Arnold Palmer to turn over his business dealings to his fledgling agency, International Management Group. Within a decade, Palmer's earnings rose from roughly the equivalent of a schoolteacher's salary to something akin to the earnings of a Fortune 500 CEO. Other golfers went on to benefit mightily, and McCormack went on to represent Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, as well as many other superstars in other sports. After delineating in fascinating detail how McCormack altered the equation for golfers, Futterman shifts to similar developments—some involving McCormack's agency, some not—in tennis, baseball, basketball, and football. Other than the Palmer saga, the story developed most deeply by the author is that of baseball pitcher James "Catfish" Hunter, whose battle for free agency from an unfair system showed the genius of union leader Marvin Miller, an economist by education. Futterman illuminates McCormack's career through the superagent's death in 2003 and then shifts attention to additional business visionaries who enhanced the earnings and working conditions of undercompensated athletes. Within the master narrative, the author offers insightful miniprofiles of sports commissioners, team owners, and TV network decision-makers who paid for rights that supplemented earnings.

Despite the multiple sports explored and the large cast of characters, Futterman develops his theme seamlessly in a book that will appeal to casual fans as well as those who live and die according to the accomplishments of athletes.

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1695-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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