Jeff Pearlman

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Casey turns 15

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My daughter Casey turns 15 today.

Jesus, that’s weird.

I remember when she was just a wee one, maybe five or six months into the world. And I said to the wife, “God, she’s growing up so fast. It breaks my heart.”

Catherine reassured me there was an enormous gap between now and then; that she would have to crawl (she never did) then walk (she did) then go to nursery school and kindergarten and elementary and …

It would be a long journey, I was promised.

No. It’s flying by.

I love this kid so much, but I can’t fully express it to her. I mean, I do in doses. But Casey isn’t an overly mushy child. She’s a leaner more than a hugger. Someone enters the room, her go-to noise isn’t “Heeeeey!” but “Murrr.” So I tell her in spots, show her in actions. A bunch of weeks ago we were home alone for a few days, doing our own things, when suddenly we found ourselves watching one “Family Feud” episode after another after another. We found ourselves laughing, guffawing, giggling. That same week we took a long drive up the coast to Huntington Beach, blaring the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way” on an endless loop, windows down, singing.

Magical.

I can’t believe Casey is 15. I can’t believe she’s three years from college. I can’t believe she’s halfway to 30. It’s all so much to grasp and handle and comprehend. She was atop my shoulders not long ago. She was holding into my leg not long ago. She was wearing a Disney princess dress not long ago. She was in her crib, gazing skyward, not long ago.

Now she is here. Tall, lovely, smart, beautiful.

I am heartbroken.

I am thrilled.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life