Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man
Famous Author Sighting
It’s not everyday that you get to glimpse a famous author, while standing in line at a grocery store. It happened to me last week, as I was waiting to pay at the Pathways Supermarket, located in a black middle-class neighborhood of North Philly. The temperature on that early June day had soared to a sizzling 102 degrees Fahrenheit and I had come in to walk through the AC for a few minutes, while purchasing some cold juice and a frozen dinner, which I could toss in the microwave.
I was not the first person to recognize Charles Barkley. That honor fell to the man standing right in front of me. Immediately he blurted out the words, “There’s Charles Barkley” and soon everybody standing in the checkout lines was abuzz with the fact that a NBA “Hall of Famer” was on the premises. Within seconds cell phones were clicking and all attention was focused on the 6’4″ man, who had come into the supermarket just to buy a few small items. “Sir Charles” took well to all the attention, making special efforts to say Hello to all the young kids, who were in the store with their parents. Then before you knew it, the moment was over, for Mr. Barkley had paid for his merchandise and was headed out the door.
Barkley The Writer
Barkley’s writing career is not quite as interesting as his NBA career, but the sometimes controversial player still finds a way to stir the waters and keep readers buying his books. As a NBA player, Charles was the shortest player to ever win an NBA rebounding title. As an athlete turned writer, he still runs against the grain, for his literary efforts express a world view that go beyond the sport of basketball. With such witty titles as “Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man” and “I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It”, Barclay’s writing ventures out of the realm of sports commentary and explores the realm of modern philosophy, satire and humor.
What Literary Writers Can Learn from Charles Barkley
First of all, public figures have a huge head start on building an audience for their literary efforts. And as far as having a ready-to-read audience, a writer would be hard-pressed to bring to the table a better combination of high profile accolades than Barkley. Put NBA Hall of Fame, Dream Team and employed sportscaster together and your first book is bound to sell a few copies just on name recognition. Still reading audiences are a fickle lot, and to keep the reader past the first few pages content still matters.
Titles Are Important
I have not yet read any of Barkley’s books, but yet, a quick fact check on Amazon reveals a handful of intriguing titles and a large number of fans, who definitely enjoy reading one or more of the author’s books from start to finish. His last two titles indicates that the ex-player may have found something of a literary niche with his offbeat social commentary.