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Publisher's Summary

A star-studded, dynamic production performed by Jim Gray with a foreword written and read by Tom Brady. Talking to GOATs audio also features appearances by Bob Costas, Vin Scully, Carol Burnett, and Snoop Dogg. 

“As a sportscaster and sports historian, Jim’s career genuinely stands the test of time.... This book is sports history about some of the greats by one of the greats, who was taking it all in on the sidelines, in the stands or the dugout, by the 18th green, courtside, or in the broadcast booth.” (Tom Brady, six-time NFL Super Bowl champion GOAT)

A riveting, insightful memoir of never-before-told stories from Jim Gray, 12-time Emmy Award-winner, Hall of Fame sports broadcaster, and renowned interviewer - that explores the author's career and the inside stories and memorable moments of the famous legends he has covered including, Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson.

In Talking to GOATs, award-winning broadcaster Jim Gray looks back at his four decades of sports reporting from the unparalleled perspective of one of the world’s most respected and skilled interviewers. A journalist who many iconic athletes have trusted to tell their stories (of both triumph and disgrace), Jim has had unprecedented access to the people, places and extraordinary events in the world of sports. Asking tough but fair questions, he has broken numerous stories, and landed squarely in the middle of others, from the Ben Johnson and Barry Bonds steroid scandals, to Michael Jordan’s surprise retirement, to the off-the-court Kobe/Shaq feud which led to their on-the-court break up, to being part of the live broadcast for 22 Super Bowls. He’s climbed into the ring to interview Mike Tyson after he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear, and stood next to Ron Artest when the  “Malice at the Palace” melee erupted, and was on site at the bombing of the Atlanta Olympics. 

Anyone who has watched Jim effortlessly engage his subjects at the precise moment of triumph or tragedy has little idea what it takes to secure the interview, or what actually happens when the camera cuts away.  These are real, mesmerizing, and previously untold stories. Talking to GOATs features numerous world-class athletes, including Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Floyd Mayweather, Michael Phelps, Mike Tyson, and Tiger Woods, and world leaders George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev, and many more. Jim gives the listener a coveted all-access pass as he reviews the best interviews, the best athletes, and the best games in modern sports history. It’s like a personal introduction to the characters and careers of these heroes and villains we’ve known since childhood. He examines how money, celebrity, the media, and power interact, and how sports, more than any other institution, has led to momentous transformations in American society.  

©2020 Jim Gray and Greg Bishop (P)2020 HarperAudio

What listeners say about Talking to GOATs

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Writing a book is not easy, Dan.

So after hearing old Scratchy (Jim’s nickname if you didn’t know) absolutely bomb while being interviewed to “promote” this “book” I couldn’t look away. On Dan L he came across as quite pompous and arrogant, and when D. A. lobbed up they type of softball question Jim is known for asking his interviewees, only to have scratchy start babbling incoherent nonsense, I was fascinated. How could someone who is known for only interviewing GOATS (athletes commonly discussed amongst the Greatest Of All Time) be so horrible at being interviewed himself. Was he having a rough time for some reason around this book or could it be a sort of idiot savant situation? Either way, old Scratchy was in front of some of the most acclaimed athletes of all time, and I figured this book would be a safe bet to at least be interesting in that regard. Boy was I wrong.

I must say I am reviewing the audiobook, and I did not care for it at all. Starting with Bob Costas “announcing” the chapters over some sort of junk stadium sound, to the corny, overproduced audio effects and poorly recorded testimonials from some of the GOATS, it all screamed like it was trying to convince us Jim has friends. I don’t think Jim has friends. Jim knows people and people may or may not know him. Still, if this man has found himself in the presence of greatness time and time again, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

I’m too young to really know about the Pete Rose thing, but the rest of the GOATS in this book are more contemporary and definitely interesting. Jim recently said he was most proud of his interview with Mike Tyson, and after a cheesy introduction by Tom Brady we jump right into Tyson.

So I’m not going to go into every chapter but please listen when I tell you not to buy this audiobook. Maybe if I read it instead of hearing Jim swear like Mike Tyson for effect (a quite bad effect) I would have a different opinion, but honestly I don’t think so. I can not find one single redeeming quality in this audiobook, or even in Jim from what I can tell.

It seems to me that Jim has gotten access to all of these GOATS because they all know he doesn’t have any journalistic integrity and won’t ask them any questions that they aren’t prepared to answer. I wouldn’t be surprised if these GOATS tell Jim what questions he is going to ask them. After hearing Jim being interviewed several years ago at the Super Bowl by T&R, then recently in “promoting” this “book” I actually started to feel bad for the man. What a mistake.

Not only does Jim lack any semblance of professionalism whatsoever, he’s just not a nice man. One answer he gave to a question by Dan L on the radio is the title of this review. “Writing a book is not easy, Dan.” Yes Jim you proved that just because you happened to be in the same place at the same time as some of the greatest athletes of our generation that does not mean you have anything interesting to say.

8 people found this helpful

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Reveals Something Other than What Gray Intended.

Can I just observe before starting that a lot of the favorable reviews look suspicious? One or two lines of superlatives written by people who have never written an Audible review before?

There are two chapters I like in the book - one at the beginning about Ali and the one at the end about Gray's father. Both are heartfelt.

The rest of the book shows the one flaw in Gray's otherwise successful career. This is the one that fans booed him for when he interviewed Pete Rose as part of the Mastercard 100 greatest baseball players celebration. It's the same that led to criticism of "The Decision" with LeBron James. Gray sometimes fails to see the context of his stories - the setting, the mood of spectators. His friend Bob Costas excels at this, as Gray seems to recognize.

How does this apply to the other chapters in the book? Too often, it seems that Gray is more interested in showing off himself than in revealing interesting stories about his purported subjects. I started to anticipate that there would be a story in each chapter about how the celebrity would acknowledge Gray's achievements, whether as a presenter at an award show honoring Gray or in some other way. It also felt that Gray was showing off in being friends with most of the people covered. How great am I, friends with Ali, Dr. J, Tom Brady, and Mike Tyson?

The failure to anticipate how things will be perceived is apparent in the introductory and acknowledgement sections, too. Bob Costas highlighting the chapters of the book as if they were a batting lineup seems like a funny idea until you realize there are 19 chapters to get though. Snoop reading acknowledgements would have been funny if it were a one-minute bit, but it goes on for 10-minutes plus.

I have no doubt that Jim Gray is a great guy. He has lots of friends who trust him, and he must be a warm person. Featuring his friends more and himself less would have made this a better book.

5 people found this helpful

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Easy to Dislike- this book and Jim Gray

I hoped this would be a series of stories about great athletes. Mini biographies and interesting anecdotes from Gray...IT IS NOT. It is an autobiography of Jim Gray. It is mostly about him and his oversized ego and claims of grandiose impact on legends. The man has no self awareness. Nobody really thinks about Gray much because he is just a glorified sideline reporter. This book confirms he is an arrogant self-centered jackass. Stories about his failures are filled with excuses and blaming others. He seems extremely defensive and thin skinned. If you want a book about athletics and great athletes this isn’t it- despite the title. If you want a book about Jim Gray (and who would), this is for you.

For a TV reporter, he is an awful reader of his own material. Zero stars for performance.

25% of this book was enjoyable (thus 2 stars). The boxing stuff is quite good (Tyson and Ali). Brady stuff could be good, but a little too much about Brady being his bff. The rest is total garbage.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

This book was awesome. I thought Jim Gray did a great job reading the book, as well as mixing in other celebrity personalities. I did not know his experience was so vast but the stories he tells are perfect for the sports enthusiast. And Jim reveals personal details and tells his stories with honesty and humility. I’ve told all my sports friends to get the book. Thanks for sharing all the personal stories and the inside information.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Absolutely amazing and best book of the year in my opinion. Sports fans will love it for sure

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Great book! High key recommend reading it! I had to read it for school and I loved it!

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Man with many opinions that he didn’t need to share but some good stories

The disrespect for rose upset me. The disdain he has for the steroid era bothered me. Since when did this man become a scientist and understand the effects of steroids and the power it can have on athletes. Him getting so upset and outraged about tigers infidelity of his wife and his lack of giving out autographs was beyond comical. Are some of the stories entertaining? I’d say so. You have to be willing to get past a bitter man with strong opinions and at times selfish behavior. The events and athletes made him. Not the other way around. Sometimes, it just doesn’t come off as someone who appreciated anything

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Easy listening, fascinating stories

Interesting and enjoyable book, written (and narrated) by the sports legend himself. I was both amused and entertained by Jim's stories about his friendships and run-ins with famous and infamous athletes as well as people who have influenced his life on and off the court/green/field/arena etc. Even a casual sports fan would probably enjoy this book...as long as you don't hate Tom Brady. (I wasn't a fan of TB12 before reading the book, but since seeing him win yet another SB ring and listening to Jim's take on Brady's character and athleticism, I've changed my mind.) I gave a copy to my mom for her birthday and she's not a huge sports fan, but since she's about Jim's age and lived through all the stories he recounts, I knew she'd like it nonetheless.

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Enjoyable and uplifting

I found the content of this book to be enjoyable to listen to and provided me with some uplifting moments

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Need it in Spanish to share with my entire family

I'm not a huge sports fan but the way Jim describes every detail and every moment in sports history has made me want to dig up more information about the Athletes he talks about in this book. I wish they had this in Spanish so I can gift to my brother, he's a walking encyclopedia when it comes to sports and events around the world. He would love it!