NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson used to give his players books to read. Each book was given to a player for a very specific reason, and that book was taken politely and tossed in the back of a locker. Judging from the grammar in NBA player tweets, many of them—like most of us—should read more. Now that Phil has moved on, we need someone to recommend books to NBA players. We don’t have PJ on our list of contributing writers, but we do have a high school English teacher.—Ed.
by Sam Rubenstein / @samrubenstein
Rajon Rondo, I recommend that you read The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. It’s a literary classic that self-styled rebels tend to worship. The main character, Holden Caulfield, is a “different” kind of person in a world full of phonies. He hates phonies, HATES ’em. I don’t see you smiling for the camera, spewing family-friendly slogans. You don’t pose and strut for the fickle fans, the corporate entities, or anyone at all.
If you are one who questions authority, then Holden Caulfield is the character for you. Everyone wants to understand him and try to reel in Holden’s independent spirit, but he’s too unique. The story takes place as he’s expelled from prep school and takes a little self-vacation before he has to go home. He’s coming to terms with feelings of abandonment. Where’s Doc? Ray? Kevin? Paul? You always wanted the freedom to be alone, and now you have it. Let Holden show you how it feels. There are some adventures with girls and a violent pimp, but beneath the surface Holden believes that it’s his job to catch children in a field of rye, meaning he wants to protect innocent children from the harsh realities of life. Hey, you’re the veteran leader on your team now. That’s kind of your job by default.
The author, JD Salinger, has a Rondo streak in him. For decades, he was worshipped and people begged him to sign off on a Catcher in the Rye movie, or to write more great American novels. He refused, and in fact he became a notorious recluse. Sounds like paradise to you, doesn’t it, Rondo?
The paperback version is 220 pages long. You can read it when you’re relaxing in the locker room before games. It’s not like you know anybody who’s left on your team, anyway.