Slick: The Silver-And-Black Life of Al Davis

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9780026025003: Slick: The Silver-And-Black Life of Al Davis

In this startling biography, veteran sports journalist Mark Ribowsky interviews more than 100 people whose lives have been directly touched by Al Davis, owner of the Los Angeles Raiders. A riveting portrait of a driven man, Slick is the story of Davis from his sandlot days in Brooklyn through his coaching years to his ownership of the Raiders. A most unauthorized biography of the most controversial of NFL owners. 16 pages of photos.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Lengthy, solid, revealing biography of the owner of the L.A. Raiders--and a knowledgeable history of football's evolution from the Sixties onward, on and off the field. Portrayed by Ribowsky (He's a Rebel, 1988) as a pretend- athlete who never made the teams but tenaciously sought the company of real jocks, Davis, through his blue-collar Raiders (``oddities and irregulars, factory seconds and seeming chain gang escapees'') became an outlaw force in football. Ribowsky covers Davis's story thoroughly, especially the 1982 battle with Commissioner Pete Rozelle over Davis's right to move the team from Oakland to L.A. Leading up to that, Ribowsky details the peculiarly nasty Raider style that developed as Davis welded hard-case nonconformists into victorious Super Bowl teams, and also delivers a lively account of the bombs-away style that has unnerved Raider opponents. Davis emerges as chutzpah incarnate in his independent rise from a well-to-do Jewish background to successful coach to preeminence in the sport. Here, as the driven, indefatigable Raider-mensch scouts for his psychopath berserkers, he guts business opponents along the way without mercy, retaining a cadre of loyalists in a sea of enemies. But Davis's relationships with his players, blacks included, have been as close as can be found in the sport. Doused after a victory, ``[Davis] wore the wet clothes all the way home,'' giggles one player. The enemies list is long, though, once headed by former Raiders-owner Wayne Valley, who gave Davis his biggest breaks: At Valley's funeral, ``The police were watching for him,'' says wife Gladys Valley. ``They had orders to throw him out.'' ``You don't want Al Davis mad at you,'' says Gene Upshaw, and Ribowsky's sometimes clunky sentences do not obscure his forceful underscoring of that message. (Two eight-page photo inserts--not seen.) -- Copyright 1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

After noting that no one has written a previous biography of the L.A. Raiders' outspoken and controversial owner/president, sports journalist Ribowsky demonstrates why. Born into a well-off Jewish family in Brooklyn, N.Y.,Davis, reputed to resort to questionable means in order to secure victory, has been a long-time political conservative whose hero is Adolf Hitler. Rejected in college for varsity basketball and football teams, he embarked on a coaching career that stamped him as either football genius or clever borrower of others' ideas. On his rise through the ranks, he coached in the military, college and the pros, sometimes to the subsequent regret of the head coaches who hired him. In Oakland, Calif., Davis developed the Raiders into the winningest team in the pro game and then, over league opposition, moved the team to L.A. Like his subject, Ribowsky pulls no punches, quoting Davis's foes as liberally as he does his friends.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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