An honest, unflinching self-portrait of the basketball legend whose classy public image as a superstar and a gentleman masked his personal failings and painful losses, which he describes here--from his own point of view--for the very first time.

For most of his life, Julius Erving has been two men in one. There is Julius, the bright, inquisitive son of a Long Island domestic worker who has always wanted to be respected for more than just his athletic ability, and there is Dr. J, the cool, acrobatic showman whose flamboyant dunks sent him to the Hall of Fame and turned the act of jamming a basketball through a hoop into an art form. In many ways, Erving’s life has been about the push and pull of Julius and The Doctor.

It is Dr. J who has stories to tell of the wild days and nights of the ABA in the 1970s, and of being the seminal figure who transformed basketball from an earthbound and rigid game into the creative, free-flowing aerial display it is today. He has a long list of signature plays - he’s famous for winning the first dunk contest in 1976 with a jam on which he lifted off from the foul line, and he made a miraculous layup against the Lakers on which he soared behind the backboard before reaching back in to flip the ball in on the other side, with one hand. He inspired a generation of dunkers, including Michael Jordan, to express their improvisational talents.

But Julius wasn’t always as graceful and in control as Dr. J. Erving had a pristine image throughout his career and early retirement, but he was far from a perfect man. Here he gives detailed accounts of some of the personal problems he faced -- or created -- behind the scenes, including the adulterous affair with sports writer Samantha Stephenson, which led to the birth of his daughter, professional tennis player Alexandra Stephenson.

Though his marriage survived that infidelity, the death of Erving’s 20-year-old son Cory in 2000 in a tragic accident proved too much for the union to bear. Erving paints a raw, heartbreaking picture of the dissolution of his marriage, as his wife Turquoise began to blame him for his refusal to be paralyzed by grief for as long as she was. Their intense arguments came to a head when Erving stepped out of the shower one day to find his wife holding a lamp in one hand and a vase in the other, ready for a physical confrontation. “I knew somebody was going to get hurt, and it wasn’t going to be me,” he says. He packed a suitcase and he and Turquoise never lived under the same roof again.

Erving’s story is a tale of the nearly perfect player and the imperfect man, and how he has come to terms with both of them. It will appeal to readers on a sports level and on a human one.

“I was twenty-three and I had set off for Asia to become a writer, intrigued by lurid tales of booms, busts, drugs, sex, violence, magic. There was a wicked sorcery in Asia, in the economic profligacy of the early nineties, in the way financiers and businessmen took a rapidly wiring and developing continent and looted billions, like a titanic parlor trick converting all that wealth into abandoned office complexes and half-completed shopping malls. . . . I wanted it all—the money, the sex, the drugs. And to this day I believe that if I am honest with myself, despite all I have learned the hard way over the past decade, I would still want it all again, the fucking and the getting loaded and the scheming to get enough money to pay for that life.”

In the late 1980s, not long out of college, Karl Taro Greenfeld found himself stranded in New York, a failed writer before his career had even begun. His Jewish-American father angrily cut off support; his Japanese mother suggested he go to Japan to teach English. He did, accepting a job with no more promise than he’d had before. But he stayed in Asia for the next several years, working his way through a series of journalistic posts, watching a culture erupt before his eyes and facing his own demons. Through a series of vividly imagistic stories that range from the rigidly journalistic to the deeply intimate, Standard Deviations recounts Greenfeld’s experiences—both professional and personal—during Asia’s wild ride at the end of the twentieth century. Whether drinking Japanese cough syrup to get high with other Western expatriates, visiting a free-sex ashram in Bombay, or watching a former high school pal self-destruct as an equity analyst in Jakarta, Greenfeld evokes the spirit of a continent in flux at an explosive “bubble” economy’s end—and a man confronting his own identity and aspirations.

Raunchy, insightful, eloquent and moving, Standard Deviations is an uncompromising work of cultural observation and self-exploration.
A wickedly funny dystopian parody set in a financially apocalyptic future America, from the critically acclaimed author of Triburbia.

In a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable. Jobless and without assets, they’ve walked out on mortgages, been foreclosed upon, or can no longer afford a fixed address. Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs for the night.

Karl Taro Greenfeld’s trenchant satire follows the fortunes of two families whose lives reflect this new dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-financially-fittest America. Desperate for work and food, a Subprime family has been forced to migrate east, hoping for a better life. They are soon joined in their odyssey by a writer and his family—slightly better off, yet falling fast. Eventually, they discover a small settlement of Subprimes who have begun an agrarian utopia built on a foreclosed exurb. Soon, though, the little stability they have is threatened when their land is targeted by job creators for shale oil extraction.

But all is not lost. A hero emerges, a woman on a motorcycle—suspiciously lacking a credit score—who just may save the world.

In The Subprimes, Karl Taro Greenfeld turns his keen and unflinching eye to our country today—and where we may be headed. The result is a novel for the 99 percent: a darkly funny comedy about paradise lost and found, the value of credit, economic policy, and the meaning of family.

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