Jeff Pearlman

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The story of Grandpa’s shirt

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Back in the mid-1970s, my Grandpa Nat (right) purchased the above shirt with my Grandma Mollie near their condo in Sunrise, Florida. Both passed many years ago, but I have uncovered a rare, treasured diary of that particular day of shopping.

I’ve decided it’s time to share with the world …

Nat Pearlman: It was dinner time.

Mollie Pearlman: 3:30.

Nat Pearlman: Right. So we went our favorite place, Maury’s Kosher Kingdom.

Mollie Pearlman: It was delicious. I remember what I had.

Nat Pearlman: You had the—

Mollie Pearlman: Nat, let me tell the story.

Nat Pearlman: I remember, you had …

Mollie Pearlman: Nat!

Nat Pearlman: [simmers]

Mollie Pearlman: I had a cup of tomato soup. Maybe it was vegetable. But I think it was tomato. It came with a side of bread in a basket, and butter. Then I had a salad, with those croutons and Thousand Island dressing. Then I had the prime rib. It came with either a baked potato or mashed or French fries.

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Nat Pearlman: You alw—

Mollie Pearlman: I always got the baked potato.

Nat Pearlman: I had that, too. Then I paid the $5.95 and we left.

Mollie Pearlman: You needed a new shirt.

Nat Pearlman: No I didn’t.

Mollie Pearlman: Nat, you needed a new shirt.

Nat Pearlman: OK.

Mollie Pearlman: We went to the Broward Mall.

Nat Pearlman: Parking was terrible.

Mollie Pearlman: Nat, it wasn’t that bad.

Nat Pearlman: I guess not.

Mollie Pearlman: There was a Neiman Marcus in the mall. I liked that store.

Nat Pearlman: I hated that store.

Mollie Pearlman: If it were up to you, we’d never go shopping.

Nat Pearlman: That’s true.

Mollie Pearlman: We went into Neiman Marcus. But first you bought a bag of salted almonds at a kiosk.

Nat Pearlman: I like slated almonds.

Mollie Pearlman: I knew it would keep you quiet. So I let you have the almonds.

Nat Pearlman: That’s not how I re—

Mollie Pearlman: You like almonds.

Nat Pearlman: That’s true.

Mollie Pearlman: I have a real eye for shopping, and when I saw that shirt I just knew.

Nat Pearlman: It’s the ugliest fucking shirt in the history of the world.

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Mollie Pearlman: Nat!

Nat Pearlman: I love it!

Mollie Pearlman: I knew you would.

Nat Pearlman: You really had impeccable taste in fashion. [whispering to someone to the side: Seriously, it’s the ugliest fucking shirt ever. I look like a giant leaf after an emu vomited it up. What the flipping fuck? Jesus Christ, why didn’t I exercise any wardrobe control? Now that I’m dead, I can see this was an enormous mistake]

Mollie Pearlman: Leaves were in at the time. So were big butterfly collars. Also, we had an event at the synagogue that night. So I wanted Nat to look handsome.

Nat Pearlman: A handsome leaf.

Mollie Pearlman: Nat!

Nat Pearlman: It was a terrific shirt.

Mollie Pearlman: I vividly recall there was no price tag on the shirt.

Nat Pearlman: I wonder why.

Mollie Pearlman: So I asked the girl who worked there. I said, “How much is this shirt?” She said, “You want that shirt?” She seemed very excited for me.

Nat Pearlman: That’s one way to read it.

Mollie Pearlman: It cost $6.99. I thought that was expensive. So I asked if they had a Triple A rate.

Nat Pearlman: Why would Neiman Marcus have a Triple A rate?

Mollie Pearlman: Nat!

Nat Pearlman: Those almonds were very good.

Mollie Pearlman: I got it for $3.

Nat Pearlman: When we got home I took a nap.

Mollie Pearlman: You always napped.

Nat Pearlman: I had a dream about a forest.

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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