Jeff Pearlman

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Taking a cigarette break

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 8.41.34 AM

As we speak, I am staying in room 228 of the Baymont Inn & Suites, a motel that smells like an elephant.

I can’t say this particularly bothers me, because I like elephants and the bed is quite comfortable. But the hallways definitely have a uniquely animalistic scent that makes one long for the return of Ringling Bros. Or clogged toilets.

Anyhow, all this is fine. For me, a motel is a motel is a motel. You put your stuff in a room, you leave, you come back at night, you sleep.

Last night, however, I experienced something truly unique. I returned to my room at, oh, midnight-ish. But I couldn’t find my keycard. So I went back downstairs to the main desk to ask for a new one. I was greeted by a sign that said the clerk was busy helping a customer and that I should wait a few moments.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Then I heard a noise from behind. It was the clerk, as well as the two other motel employees on duty, smoking their cigarettes outside the front door. Just, smoking.

I wasn’t even remotely mad, or even agitated. Working the midnight shift at a motel can’t be overwhelmingly fun. I mean, late hours, rude customers.

But I couldn’t help but think, “No wonder it smells.”

Like an elephant.

Hallway carpets don't lie. Or breathe.

Hallway carpets don’t lie. Or breathe.

Showtime Book
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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