Jeff Pearlman

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Shirt loyalty

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I am a shirt loyalist.

This makes no real sense, because shirts are inanimate objects, and inanimate objects are incapable of displaying love, affection, heart, spirit and/or loyalty. Still, I am a shirt loyalist. If a shirt does me well, or has some sort of unique back story, I’m sticking with him. Eh, her. Eh, it.

Yeah, it.

For example, the shirt pictured above. The year was, I believe, 2000. I was in Oakland for some story about the A’s. I approached a local thrift store, wooed by its irresistible charms. Once inside, I headed straight for the T-shirts—all $3, $4 a pop. This is the one that called me. Why? Because it had all had the proper ingredients:

• Wording that meant nothing to me. I don’t know what GSB Sun is, and I don’t particularly care.

• A tiny blood stain, as small as half a penny.

• Thin material and perfect fitting.

• Yellow.

I bought the shirt. Shortly thereafter, I cut off the sleeves. In the ensuing 1 1/2 decades, ol’ GSB Sun has been with me through multiple marathons, countless long runs, endless gym workouts and pickup basketball games. Why, I wore it last night to 24 Hour Fitness, played two hours of hoop and came home. The wet stains you see are my sweat—more prespiration added to the collection.

So why the loyalty? Because—highs and lows, ups and downs—the shirt has been a part of a huge chunk of my life. I like the back story—Oakland thrift shop. I like wondering who had it before me. I like that the blood stain still remains, though faded.

I like that it fits.

It fits me.

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Running with Emmett through the streets of New Rochelle, 2012

  • Tom Ehlebracht

    sun has always been short for the song “House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals. GSB, it appears stands for Grassland String Band. They are TERRIBLE.

Showtime Book
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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