Jeff Pearlman

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When all you do is lie

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Fuck, yes. That’s me—middle row, third from right.

Back when I was a sixth grader at Lakeview Elementary School, my class did a project where we ran to Los Angeles for the upcoming Summer Olympics.

By “ran”—well, we didn’t actually run to California. What happened was every morning we’d come to class and the teacher, a lovely woman named Mrs. Gardineer, would ask how many miles we jogged the previous afternoon. She’d add all the digits up, post them on the board and, over time, we made it closer and closer to SoCal.

Anyhow, I was 12 and a legit runner. Meaning I ran 10Ks and half marathons pretty regularly, so my totals generally led the class. There was, however, a girl who always topped me. Every day she’d boast of running 10 miles, eight miles, 12 miles. One Monday she came in and told Mrs. Gardineer that she’d run 30 miles the day before.

“But Lucy*,” the teacher said, “that’s longer than a marathon.”

“I know,” she said.

In hindsight, Mrs. Gardineer didn’t want to humiliate Lucy in front of the class. So she’d dutifully mark her mileage, and—powered by Alberto Salazar II—we made our way west. But before long, nobody took her seriously. Lucy’s totals were greeted with laughter, derision, scorn. She was a class joke, and being a class joke at age 12 is brutal. Such is life when you lie and lie and lie.

I digress.

Donald Trump said that he’s not visiting England because of some nonsense with the U.S. Embassy. This was, clearly, a lie. The, what, 3,000th lie of the year. He lies and lies and lies and lies, and there is—truly—no longer reason to take anything he says seriously. His threats are empty. His promises mean shit. If you’re North Korea or Russia or even Canada, why take him even slightly seriously?

He’s a Lucy.

 * Not her real name

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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