Jeff Pearlman

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One photo and a rush of nostalgia

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So a few minutes ago I was digging through a bag I uncovered in our garage, when I came upon the above photograph.

The feelings hit me—hard.

This was taken in the summer of 1995, at a side-of-the-road produce stand somewhere in (I’m pretty sure) Florida. The woman with her back to the camera is Heather, my girlfriend at the time (and, to this day, someone I consider a good friend). The man in the white T-shirt is, well, a man in a white T-shirt. Never met him.

The craziest part is the car. It was a cherry red Geo Metro convertible, purchased, oh, a week earlier after my other vehicle died. A total impulse buy, I got the Geo off the lot, used, for—I believe—$3,000. At 6-foot-2, I was way too tall. Even worse, the thing was junk. The body was plastic-like. The back window was all scratched and of little use. Once you hit 50 mph, the auto started to shake. Brrr-brrr-brrr-brrr. A shit car for a shit 23-year old.

So why did I get it? Well … um … this trip to Florida. As dumb as it sounds in hindsight, I was young and itching to impress Heather. We’d planned for months on taking the drive from Tennessee (where I lived) to the Panhandle, and the idea of doing so in a convertible made me feel like The Man. Hell, what you don’t see in the image is (and I’m not making this up) a bunch of young kids coming up to us and saying, “Wow, mister! Neat car!”

If they only knew.

Not sure if I can put this into words the way it sounds in my head, but there’s something about being a guy in his early 20s, money in his pocket, girlfriend by his side, rolling through the warm breeze with the top down on his red convertible. Was I cool? Ha. No. Was the car cool? Also—ha. No.

But I was young and confident and staring at the world before me.

I hope my kids experience those highs, too.

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
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The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

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