Paul Shirley – biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroAmerican basketball player
Is Athlete 
Basketball player 
From United States of America 
Type Literature 
Birth 23 December 1977, Redwood City, San Mateo County, California, U.S.A.
Age:42 years
Height: 208
Weight: 105

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 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 chat on October 23, Shirley referenced the $10 million, 5-year contract of Mark Madsen as the reason why he was released.


Shirley was born in Redwood City, California and grew up near the small town of Meriden, Kansas. He played high school basketball at Jefferson West High School.

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, Kelvin Cato, 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.

He appeared in the film Glory Road (#50 for Iowa, uncredited).

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.

Shirley’s first book, entitled Can I Keep My Jersey?, was released on May 15, 2007 from Random House. A paperback version of the book was released on December 26, 2007.

In 2010, Shirley penned a long blog entry at 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.”

Shirley added:

“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?


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.”


Collegiate statistics

4 Season Totals10946N/A28351112255373552695845153N/A822

Source: and

Professional statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
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NBA career statistics

Regular season