Bob Ryan is an interesting character. He is best known from his appearances on the ESPN sports shows "Pardon the Interruption," "The Sports Reporters" and "Around the Horn" over the last 25 years, and as a guy with very pointed opinions, and not afraid to say them.
I've also known him from his days as a sportswriter with the Boston Globe. When I was offered a copy of his book "Scribe: My Life In Sports," I thought that baseball would be a major part of his tome. But basketball is the major part of his biography, as he covered the Celtics for many decades.
I have to admit that I am not the biggest basketball fan in the world, but that certainly didn't discourage me from reading his book. He has written 11 books in the past, but this one begins at his beginning.
Ryan begins his story as a kid growing up in Trenton, New Jersey, where sports played a huge part in his youth. He lost his dad at the age of 11, and was raised by his mother. He eventually went to Boston College, found a job as an office boy at the Boston Globe (where he met a young Peter Gammons), and worked his way up in the sports department, eventually getting the Celtics gig in 1969.
From there, Ryan tells a plethora of interesting stories covering the Boston Celtics legends, from Red Auerbach, Dave Cowens, up to the Larry Bird Era and the last Celtics championship in 2008.
While the book is centered on basketball and the Celtics, Ryan also talks at length about his days covering college basketball, and his encounters with legendary coach Bobby Knight are particularly fascinating. And he also enjoyed his time covering the Olympics (11 in all), especially when the pros debuted in 1992, the so-called "Dream Team."
Ryan does talk about his brief times covering the Red Sox, in the mid-1970s, and early 1980s, and does talk briefly about the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series.
Ryan has an impressive resume covering all different sports, and lists golf as his favorite to cover. But he talks about not being very hockey literate, and really is conflicted about the game of football. He calls it "barbaric" but also "wouldn't dream of missing a Super Bowl or National championship game."
Bob Ryan has been covering the world of sports for nearly five decades, and if you've read and enjoyed his work over the years, you'll certainly find something to like in "Scribe."