Vanstone: Why Jeff Pearlman is my favourite author … period

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“It’s uncomfortable, because there’s a pretty sincere reality, which is a lot of the material in this book would not have been made available had the interviews taken place after Jan. 26, 2020,” Pearlman says.

“I mean, it’s much easier to lambaste someone, or speak of someone’s shortcomings, when that person is alive. So now I have this book, and I put everything I had into it, and it’s not an attack of Kobe Bryant at all, but it’s a pretty unvarnished look.

“And … it’s awkward. It is. So I’m just rolling with it best I can, and repeating the sincere-yet-tired line: ‘This is a glimmer of a section of his life, not the entirety …’

“So, Rob, this is a glimmer of a section of his life. Not the entirety.”

The entirety of the Pearlman collection is highly recommended.

The Bad Guys Won, about the 1986 New York Mets, is a rollicking read. It begins with a hilarious, eye-popping recollection of a chaotic plane ride home after the Mets won the National League Championship Series. That chapter, titled Food Flight, fuelled this scribbler’s addiction to all things Pearlman.

Boys Will Be Boys, about the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, tells the story of an NFL team that was dominant on the field and legendary, in a different way, away from the gridiron.

Biographies of sporting luminaries Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Brett Favre and Walter Payton also fall into the must-read category.

In the case of Payton, Pearlman offers another “unvarnished” look at a deceased subject — an approach that prompted unfounded criticism from people who hadn’t actually taken the time to read the book, entitled Sweetness.

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