Earl the Twirl

My Life in Basketball


In stock

About the Book

Earl “The Twirl” Cureton was never a star player in the NBA, but then again, few people will ever be a celebrity athlete.  Earl’s story, instead, is about a life on the fringes of the league during its “Golden Era” of the ’80s and ’90s. A teammate of Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Charles Oakley, Muggsy Bogues, Hakeem Olajuwon, and others, Earl was a part of seven NBA teams in his twelve-season career. He won two championships during his career, first in 1983 with the Philadelphia 76ers, and then in 1994 with the Houston Rockets. And yet, as a professional basketball journeyman, every day was a struggle.

Growing up in Detroit during race riots, Earl worked hard and became a standout player at the University of Detroit. A 6′ 9″ center in the pros, he battled with Karem Abdul-Jabbar in back-to-back NBA Finals. While many people know the stories of big names like Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, few understand the life of a player on the outskirts of the league. This is Earl’s own story, a unique perspective on the trials of a journeyman player: non-guaranteed contracts, tryouts and cuts, playing overseas, coming back from injury, and the looming “right of first refusal.”

About the Author(s)

The late Earl Cureton was a Detroit-born two-time NBA champion with the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets and worked as an ambassador for the Pistons.

Jake Uitti is a Seattle-based writer from New Jersey. His work has been featured in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Nation, and Interview.

Bibliographic Details

Earl Cureton and Jake Uitti

Foreword by Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Foreword by Isiah Thomas

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9383-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5159-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Foreword by Julius “Dr. J” Erving 1
Foreword by Isiah Thomas 4
Preface by Jake Uitti 6
Introduction by Earl Cureton 9
1. Houston: Champions 13
2. Hello, My Name Is Earl 17
3. Big Man on Two Campuses 33
4. Playing Alongside My Idol 49
5. The ’83 Championship Team 62
6. What Now? Italy?! 76
7. Building the Bad Boys 86
8. Running from the Bulls 96
9. Sinking with the Clippers 105
10. The Sting of the Hornets 114
11. Back to Italy? 121
12. Playing Everywhere 132
13. Judith and Houston 143
14. My First Horrible Injury 151
15. Retired 158
16. Master P and Dennis Rodman 169
17. Becoming an Ambassador 179
18. Final Reflections 185
Coda 195
Index 199