Cleveland-raised Esquire scribe Scott Raab's LeBron James-bashing book, The Whore of Akron-- which at one point wishes a career-ending injury upon the basketball superstar-- got the author's media credentials revoked from Miami Heat home games. It also earned him an inbox full of threats from South Floridians.
Now, Raab believes, he's been deemed too controversial to do a reading at Miami's only well-known independent bookstore.
Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan cancelled Raab's appearance this Saturday, December 3, the author says, because Kaplan didn't want to piss off Heat-affiliated friends and was concerned that Raab would be flanked by a security guard.
Kaplan, who says Raab's appearance was scrapped because the bookstore couldn't properly promote it, scoffed when told of the author's claim: "This guy sounds like he's a real self-promoter."
Kaplan called his publisher, Harper, last week to cancel the event, Raab says. Kaplan's worked with Heat stalwarts Alonzo Mourning, Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal will be reading from his own new book, Shaq Uncut, on Monday, December 5. "He was very concerned about how my book might effect those relationships," says Raab.
Then there's the matter of Raab's one-man goon squad. Since receiving threats from South Floridians, he decided to hire his own security guard for any appearances down here. "I don't mean a guy in fatigues with an M-80," says Raab. "Shaq's not going to do his own reading without being flanked by his uncles, who aren't really his uncles."
But Raab says Kaplan told his publicist that he was uncomfortable with the author bringing security.
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When reached by Riptide, Kaplan needed to be reminded who Raab was, and seemed unfamiliar with the nature of the book. Sandwiched between appearances between Bill Clinton and Shaq, there wasn't enough time or will to promote Raab, he said. But he eventually mentioned that Raab's own publicist seemed unenthused about the appearance. "We're big Heat fans anyway," Kaplan added. "I love the Heat. I love LeBron."
"I think that Mitchell's full of shit," Raab retorted when told of Kaplan's response. He's now looking for some renegade venue that will host him. "I still plan to come down there, and not just to make trouble. Plenty of people who think I'm a shit would still like to come out."