Jeff Pearlman

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Grandpa Nat and Uncle Marty

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Two of my all-time favorite people are my Grandpa Nat and my Uncle Marty.

My Grandpa Nat was Nathan Pearlman. Every February my brother and I would fly from New York to Florida to visit Grandpa and Grandpa for a week at their condominium in Sunrise Lakes. It was absolute joy. We’d hit up Parrot Jungle, Monkey Jungle, Lion Country Safari, the Jungle Queen boat. On and on and on. My Grandma Mollie was the nurturer, my Grandpa Nat the lesson provider. He’d always want us to learn little things. So, for example, when he took David and I bowling, we couldn’t start until we sat for 20 minutes and watched the other people in the alley bowl, too. “Watch how they’d do it,” he’d say. So we’d sit there, watching.

Grandpa Nat died about 20 years ago. I truly loved him.

My Uncle Marty is my dad’s older brother, and Nat and Mollie’s son. He’s still alive; a recently retired college professor who loves to travel and has a life filled with interesting stories and adventures. Perhaps because I come from a small family (two parents, one brother, one uncle, one cousin), I’ve long considered Uncle Marty more than just an uncle. He’s a friend, a source of wisdom, a guide. There are few folks I’ve ever liked/respected/loved more.

Anyhow, a few years ago I was digging through old albums and found the above photograph of Uncle Marty (left) and Grandpa. It was taken at my uncle’s wedding in the early 1970s. So I bought a nice frame, cleaned it off, carefully inserted the image and placed it on a shelf, in a prominent spot. Whenever someone would ask, I’d (proudly) say, “That’s my uncle with my grandpa”

About a year ago, my dad looked at the picture. “That’s not Uncle Marty,” he said.

“Of course it is,” I replied.

“No, it’s not,” he said. “I’m positive.”

Indeed, Dad was right. It’s the brother of Uncle Marty’s ex-wife.

Damn.

I took it down.

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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