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Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Updated: March 8, 3:58 PM ET

Click here to buy Ian O'Connor's "The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball"

Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball

Last June, 5-foot-11 Sebastian Telfair became the shortest high school player ever taken in the draft lottery when the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 13th pick.

Inspired by the need to escape the Coney Island projects, and driven by a blood feud with his cousin, Stephon Marbury, Telfair negotiated an eight-figure sneaker contract before he even declared for the draft.

David Stern wants to institute a 20-year-old age requirement to stop Telfair, and other high school phenoms like him, from continuing to run a fast break to his league.

In this excerpt from Ian O'Connor's book, we find Telfair being wooed by agents and sneaker companies, we get an inside look as he goes one-on-one with fellow draft candidate (and fellow short point guard) Jameer Nelson, and we discover why Telfair wasn't in the green room at Madison Square Garden on draft night.


Page 2's Jim Caple has a book out about the Yankees -- hating the Yankees. "The Devil Wears Pinstripes" tears down the evil empire with scathing humor. In this excerpt, Jim looks at Yankee fans.

In the Book Club book of the month for February, Adrian Wojnarowski's "The Miracle of St. Anthony," high school coach Bob Hurley struggles coaching kids who don't know the name of the opposing coach.

Jack Johnson, boxing's first heavyweight champion, was a controversial figure in the early 1900s, we learn in "Unforgivable Blackness," the ESPN Book Club book of the month for January.


  • November: "When Nothing Else Matters" by Michael Leahy. The inside story of Michael Jordan's last comeback.

  • October: "Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger. The controversial story of football fanaticism and race relations at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas.