December 23, 1977 |
Redwood City, California
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Jefferson West
|College||Iowa State (1996–2001)|
|Panionios Athens (2001-02)
Yakima Sun Kings (2002-03)
Atlanta Hawks (2002-03)
Joventut Badalona (2003)
Kansas City Knights (2003-04)
Chicago Bulls (2004)
UNICS Kazan (2004)
Phoenix Suns (2005)
Beijing Aoshen Olympians (2005)
Unicaja Málaga (2008)
Paul Murphy Shirley (born December 23, 1977) is an American former professional basketball player who last played for Unicaja Málaga in the Spanish ACB. He is also a writer, with his primary focus on his basketball experiences.
Shirley is noted for briefly maintaining an online journal while playing for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05. His first journal dealt with a several-day-long road trip, while the second chronicled the Suns' NBA Playoffs run. After their playoff elimination, the Suns did not re-sign him, as he rarely played in his twelfth man position. He was the author of a blog for ESPN.com entitled "My So-Called Career".
Shirley was signed to a non-guaranteed contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves in early October, but was cut in training camp before the start of the 2006-07 season. On an ESPN.com chat on October 23, Shirley referenced the $10 million, 5-year contract of Mark Madsen as the reason why he was released.
Writing career 
Shirley's blogs at ESPN and elsewhere contained observations on players, teams, fans, cities, sports media, cheerleaders, the game of basketball, and topics outside the athletic sphere. He commented on topics such as the USA Patriot Act, which he condemned as "[putting] the US on a fast-track to an Orwellian destiny". His writing garnered attention from national sports media, as well as other outlets such as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
In 2010, Shirley penned a long blog entry at FlipCollective.com about Haiti and the consequences of its earthquake. He begins the entry by stating that he has not donated to relief efforts in Haiti and "probably will not... for the same reason that I don't give money to homeless men on the street. Based on past experiences, I don’t think the guy with the sign that reads 'Need You’re Help' is going to do anything constructive with the dollar I might give him. If I use history as my guide, I don’t think the people of Haiti will do much with my money either."
"I don’t mean in any way that the Haitians deserved their collective fate. And I understand that it is difficult to plan for the aftermath of an earthquake. However, it is not outside the realm of imagination to think that the citizens of a country might be able to: A) avoid putting themselves into a situation that might result in such catastrophic loss of life. And B) provide for their own aid, in the event of such a catastrophe. Shouldn’t there be some discourse on how the millions of dollars that are being poured into Haiti will be spent? And at least a slight reprimand for the conditions prior to the earthquake? Some kind of inquisition? Something like this?: Dear Haitians – First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded. As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while? Sincerely, The Rest of the World "
Shortly thereafter, ESPN cut ties with Shirley. The company's full statement: "He was a part-time freelance contributor. The views he expressed on another site of course do not at all reflect our company's views on the Haiti relief efforts. He will no longer contribute to ESPN."
Personal history 
Shirley worked his way from walk-on to three-year starter for the Iowa State Cyclones basketball team. He was coached first by Tim Floyd (until Floyd left the Cyclones to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls) and then by Larry Eustachy. His notable teammates included future NBA players Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Fizer. The Cyclones progressed to the Elite Eight of the NCAA basketball tournament his junior season. In his college career, he earned three Academic All-Big 12 selections and, in his senior season, was named second-team Academic All-American.
After graduating, the 6'10" Shirley played power forward for thirteen different professional teams including the NBA teams the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, and the Chicago Bulls, as well as Panionios Athens of the Greek A1 League, Joventut Badalona, ViveMenorca, and Unicaja Málaga of the Spanish ACB League, and UNICS Kazan of the Russian Super League.
He has three brothers who used to live in the Johnson County, Kansas City area, Shirley's off-season home.
- "Paul Shirely". ESPN.com. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
- Shirley, Paul. "My So-Called Career: Paul Shirley's Basketball Journal". ESPN.com. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- "Chat with Paul Shirley Number 13328". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
- Shirley, Paul. "The Paul Shirley Show". NBA.com. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
- Shirley, Paul (2007). Can I Keep My Jersey?. Random House. ISBN 978-0-345-49570-9.
- Shirley, Paul (26 January 2010). "If You Rebuild It, They Will Come". FlipCollective.com. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- "Statement regarding Paul Shirley". ESPN Media Zone. ESPN.com. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- "Paul Shirley". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
- Paul Shirley NBA.com Profile
- Euroleague.net Profile
- Road Ramblings
- Paul on the Playoffs
- Blog entries at ESPN.com
- ACB.com Profile (Spain)
- Paul Shirley Spain Profile
- Paul Shirley's MySpace
- Wall Street Journal article describing Paul Shirley's writing style and content
- Paul Shirley's IMDb entry
- Paul Shirley's Twitter profile
- Interview with WickedInfo.com
- For Paul Shirley's contributions to FlipCollective online magazine.