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The Playboy Interviews: They Played the Game

From Booklist

If Playboy fans need reminding that the magazine's articles are worth a look, too, the editors have begun helpfully packaging a series of Playboy's "legendary" interviews, starting here with a galaxy of 17 athletes, dating from the years 1968 (Jim Brown) to 2005 (Lance Armstrong) and including Henry Aaron (1974), Pete Rose (1979 and 2000), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2001), and O. J. Simpson (1976 and 2003). Except for the later Rose and Simpson pieces, nearly all the interviews took place while the athletes were actively competing, if not in their prime. Each interview includes its original introduction, the only new material here being a two-page preface to the collection. However undemanding it might have been to pull this collection together, it offers luminous insights into the nature of competing at the highest levels of these sports, whether it's Brown explaining how he evades a 300-pound defensive tackle or Earnhardt explaining the nuances of a 195-mile-per-hour traffic jam. And there are many wonderfully candid comments, like Wayne Gretzky modestly remarking, "I don't think you can become too famous as a hockey player." Alan Moores
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