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Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin' and Gunnin' Phoenix Suns

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,950 ratings  ·  81 reviews
In Seven Seconds or Less, Sports Illustrated's chief NBA writer, Jack McCallum, gets in the paint with the Phoenix Suns and takes a season-long look at the NBA's most exciting and controversial team.

A few weeks before the 2005-2006 NBA training camps began, Jack McCallum called the Phoenix Suns ace director of public relations to propose a story idea for Sports Illustrat
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by Touchstone (first published 2006)
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There is one thing about the Phoenix Suns back the in the middle of the last decade that is undeniable: they were a lot of fun to watch. As a lifelong Lakers fan, it was a little hard to see them lose to the Suns in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Man, I hated Raja Bell as much as I loved Kobe in that series. Eddie House and even Boris Diaw were also easy to hate. But what to feel about Steve Nash? A medium sized white guy from Canada became a two time MVP and the premier point guard in th ...more
Charles Barkley is a punk.

Shawn Marion is a head case.

Amare' Stoudamire has huge issues.
Allison Hogue
A Season with the Underdog

Jack McCallum, a journalist for Sports Illustrated, decides to write a story for the Phoenix Suns. At first, he thinks he is just going to be in Phoenix for a few days just to do interviews and see what life is like as a player, but what he didn't expect was to get invited by the coach to stay with them on the bench for the entire season. From extreme upsets and tough losses to making a huge run into the 2006 NBA playoffs, this is a story that would get fans on their fe
:07 Seconds or Less is a book about the up and down postseason of the 05-06 Phoenix Suns. Jack Mcallum, a reporter, got an all-access pass to everything that the Phoenix Suns did. This is a non-fiction book. Though they have a high seed in the playoffs, The suns are faced with many conflicts including, toughness, ball distribution, Kobe Bryant, and knowing that if you lose your season is over. This biggest conflict of all is the Suns loses one of its star players in Amare Stoudemire right before ...more
Participatory journalism will always get me going, whether it's George Plimpton playing quarterback for the Lions or AJ Jacobs reading the encyclopedia. I was excited, then, to read that Jack McCallum conceived of his project as one of participatory journalism. Unfortunately, McCallum appears to have either not read or completely missed the point of Plimpton's great work in this field, because this book is not participatory in the least. It's just a book about the Suns for which McCallum was giv ...more
Oliver Bateman
As "year-in-the-life" books go, this one is okay...even if the emphasis in Seven Seconds or Less is almost exclusively on the '05-'06 Suns' playoff run. McCallum, as unobtrusive and self-effacing a narrator as one might hope to find, offers up good profiles of Suns coaches Mike D'Antoni (not exactly the most cerebral, Xs and Os-oriented coach, it turns out), Alvin Gentry (a thoughtful, competent sort), Marc Iavaroni (as close to an "intellectual" as one might find in the coaching profession), an ...more
Over the last 17 years that I’ve been watching, reading, writing, and playing everything and anything that is related to the NBA, I’ve never come across a book which has truly captured the very essence of the league and the game of professional basketball until I read Jack McCallum’s “:07 Seconds or Less [My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns]. “
Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated chief NBA writer, had the unique privilege “come aboard” and take part as a member of the P
Do you like basketball? Well I used to but now, not rea…
Ever wonder what it’s like to be an assistant coach in the NBA? I guess maybe once, but …
Are you a big time Pheonix Suns fan? Um, no…
Well I’ve got a book for you!

I picked up this book because one of the main characters, Mike D’Antoni recently became the coach of the team I used to love. I was looking for a reason to re-kindle my passion for basketball, and maybe if this book could show me the NBA, in the same way that Moneyball breaks down

In't kort: We volgen het basketbalteam Phoenix Suns tijdens het seizoen 2005-2006, voor en achter de schermen. De Phoenix Suns staan bekend om hun aanvallende speelstijl, en verbazen vriend en vijand met hun uitstekende resultaten. Sportschrijver Jack McCallum (senior basketball writer bij Sports Illustrated) kreeg het privilege om dit team gedurende het volledige seizoen van heel dichtbij te volgen, van de eerste training tot de laatste toespraak in de kleedkamer.

Mijn oordeel: McCallum is zich
Edward Horne
Jun 24, 2007 Edward Horne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NBA / basketball fans
I read about this book on and was very intrigued about the possibilities about getting an insider's view of the 2005-06 Phoenix Suns. The preview posted on focused on Shawn Marion - who turns out to be quite a sensitive, self-conscious head case. The coaches spend an inordinate amount of time trying to cater to Marion's ego - compare that to the self-assurance of Steve Nash (ah Nash! How I long for the old Dallas Mavericks days with you and Dirk running the pick and pop... *sigh*)

After finishing Paul Shirley’s memoir “Can I Keep My Jersey” in which he details his life bouncing around the NBA, ABA and Europe playing basketball, I was interested in reading more about the Phoenix Suns. Shirley was on the bench of the Suns during the 2004-2005 season and described a team that was playing basketball the “right way” and scoring tons of points en route to the Western Conference Finals.

This book chronicles the 2005-2006 Phoenix Suns season that also ended in the Western Conferen
As someone who grew up watching the Suns intently, the book was a fun,easy read of that exciting period. It is interesting now is to see how a team and coaching staff meshes and coaches need to be both strategists as well as psychologists. It is also remarkable how little difference there is between winners and losers in professional sports.
Steve M.
My sense is this well-regarded, but unlike, say, Breaks of the Game, I don't see this on many "best basketball books" lists. But I think it should be. It's good. Although the subject matter itself -- the D'Antoni/Nash Suns of the mid-aughts -- certainly helps.
As someone who is the ultimate beginner in terms of basketball knowledge (having only extensively studied Dwight Howard's biceps), this book was a few different things:

1) a relatively easy to understand summary of the Sun's playoff run (with a few nods to the season before)
2) a basketball vocabulary lesson (I understood most of it?)
3) a fairly well-written journalistic piece (though not fantastic- I've read some sports journalism before, and this didn't exactly blow me away)
4) a better insight t
Amen Aguemon
First off, I'm a die hard fan of the Phoenix Suns. I am an African and we mostly play football(soccer)where I come from. When I came to America the first sporting event I attended was a Suns game back in 1999. Over the years I have watched Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Penny Hardaway, Amare, and Steve Nash wear the orange and purple. I'm not much of a reader but I was intrigued by this book because it highlighted one of the most memorable years for the Suns. Nash was sensational that year. Of course ...more
Jan 13, 2007 Patrick rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sports fans, especially basketball
Very rarely, if ever, does a sports book or memoir provide both entertaining stories and insightful looks at strategy. Jack McCallum keeps a good balance between the off the court activity versus on court action. From an accomplished senior writer of venerable Sports Illustrated, a reader should expect nothing less.

Readers won't find stories of debauchery or hedonistic pursuits. Instead, everything is centered on basketball operations--ownership, public relations, travel, etc. What I especially
Fantastic look at the 2005-06 Suns. Great inside stuff about a surprisingly interesting team.
Not a Suns fan, but I still enjoyed this book a lot. The author gives us a lot of inside on the team and coaching staff, while still keeping enough distance to not be confused as a fanboy most of the time (him kissing up to that digrace of an MVP Steve Nash being the exception). As a Lakers fan it is also interesting to note that even this book about the Suns can not avoid covering Kobe and the Lakers series for more than half the book (Kobe's name is probably mentioned more often than that of e ...more
It was an entertaining read that gave some neat insights into how an NBA team functions. I didn't love the writing but it got the point across. Most of all I think it reinforces to me that we are all flawed people and it is so easy to forget that when you are looking at celebrities or famous people you don't know. When you see the flaws sometimes it turns you off people but other times it makes them more human and more intersting. Either way, good book about probably my favourite team ever. Its ...more
Have to say I was somewhat let down by this book. I was expecting a full chronicle of the season, but it was 75% on the playoffs, and 25% of the season... problem is, for those that don't know, the playoffs are about 25% of the season. Other than him getting it backwards, it was an interesting look into the chemistry of a team and how delicate a job it is to massage the egos of people who are the best in the world.

Also, he started at the end of the playoffs. Disappointing.

Read it if you're a hug
These are the Phoenix Suns that made basketball fun to watch, a form of entertainment, & not just sports. Sports fans say it's all about the championship; however, it is a business & on the flip side is all about the money. So the debate continues. Can a runnin', gunnin', poor defense team win a championship, or will they just win 55-60 games every regular season, maintain a huge fan base & play to sell out crowds? And the bottom line? How much are the fans willing to sacrifice in an ...more
Loved this book as a big NBA fan. I watch and think about the game differently having read this.

I was unaware of Jack McCallum's work for SI over the years although I've probably read a bunch of his articles and never knew it. As a Lakers fan, it was interesting to see how the Suns viewed them, especially in the '05 Playoffs.

If you like/love/sort-of follow the NBA you should read this. It's well written and your perspective of the league, it's players, and the coaches especially will change in
Stephen Meserve
Pales in comparison to Halberstam's Breaks of the Game. It's a 2 because the players are fundamentally interesting.
This is far from the greatest basketball book every written, contrary to what some will tell you. Of course Amare Stoudemire was immature, but Nash and (a personal favorite of mine) Edde House are made to be the heroes and Shawn Marion and Robert Sarver the villains. McCallum needs to take a page from the late, great David Halbertam.

Many reports suggest this was indeed the power structure, it comes off as too much of a rah-rah "story" than a true biographical season of a fun but flawed basketbal
Was more about the coaches than the players I felt like. Didn't give me the behind-the-scenes info I was craving, but did provide some insight. Really enjoyed the stories about Eddie House, and it made me really like him and think he's a funny guy. Gave me more respect for Raja Bell as well. However, I felt it was really dry and just trying to cram too much information into the book. It was a good read, but did not meet my admittedly high expectations.

Another classy and short review by themixtap
Great read, particularly for the insights on all of the Suns coaches and players. Even for a basketball fan, it's interesting to read about Steve Nash's personality, Shawn Marion's desire to be 'the man' and his fragile ego, Amare's lack of dedication to rehab and preparation, and assistant coach Alvin Gentry's candid acknowledgement that the team's defensive schemes are too complex that even he doesn't fully understand what's happening. Quick read, and an enjoyable one for a casual basketball f ...more
This was a great book, and provided a lot of insight into the Phoenix Suns circa 2005-2006. The playoff season that year was a roller coaster ride as well as an absolute blast to watch and this book brings it right back to life. While I was already quite fond of the various members of the team, this book added more depth to their personalities and just made me love them all the more.

For anybody who is a Suns or even an NBA fan, I highly recommend.
Not surprisingly another sports book that I liked. This one about the free-wheeling, relaxed Phoenix Suns who have never quite make it as far as they (or others) think they should. They are willing to stick to a system they believe in even as they continue to fall short of the ultimate goal of a championship. Intimate look at a team while always acknowledging the natural distance of being a writer about instead of a member of the team.
This was an alright fly-on-the-wall account of the Phoenix Suns. It read more like a ridiculously long SI article. I had a hard time staying interested the entire time, but in the end I enjoyed it more than I disliked it. Jack McCallum has always been a good writer in my mind, and this book is no exception. Enjoyed the in-depth examination of some of the lesser knowns like Eddie House, Tim Thomas, Boris Diaw, and Leandro Barbosa.
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“They're talking about Kobe and how great it is that he's playing with the team. Well, isn't that what you're supposed to do? Now he's the savior because he's playing that way? He's no god. He does what he's supposed to be doing, which is what we learned in kindergarten. Share the ball and play. And that's what we do better than they do” 4 likes
“Gentry conjures up a story about meeting moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin at a party at the Malibu home of Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling. “So it’s a full moon, beautiful night,” says Gentry, “and I’m trying to think of something to say to this famous guy, and finally I say, ‘Buzz, damn, you ever look up and see the moon and think to yourself how people stare at it all the time and write poems about it, and you walked on it? You walked on it.’ “And Buzz looks at me and shrugs and says, ‘No. Fuck no.’ ” Gentry shakes his head. “Damn, you can even be cynical if you walked on the moon,” he says. “Isn’t that something?” 0 likes
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