This is not a joke. Just got off the phone with Jennifer Thomason and Laura Watkins at BenBella Books, the local publishing house about which we've written in the past, and they confirm that, yeah, come November 15, BenBella will be publishing Terrell Owens' latest book. And it's not just any ol' book, but one aimed at the kiddos--the 3-to-5 set, more precisely. Which is kinda funny, because as MediaBistro reminded today, when T.O. published his autobiography this summer, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb dismissed the thing as "a children's book." Now, Owens is producing the real thing, or close to it.
Titled Little T Learns to Share, it's about a kid who "gets a new football and doesn't want to share it with his friends because he doesn't want to ruin it," says Thomason, who handles marketing and publicity for BenBella. "Little T then realizes playing alone is not as much fun." (I know, I know--it's too good to be true.) Thomason also says the book is "the first of hopefully a series ofchildren's books he's going to write." Actually, Owens didn't write it alone; he will share a credit with Courtney Parker, "though I believe Terrell did most of it," says Watkins, the publisher's vice president of marketing and publicity. The illustrations were done by Todd Harris.
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The initial press run will be 10,000 copies, and Watkins says it will be available nationally and from BenBella's Web site.
Owens ended up at BenBella because the company has a relationship with his literary agent, Ian Kleinert at The Literary Group International, which specializes in athletes-turned-authors. "And I think there was some interest specifically becuase we're Dallas-based and Terrell's here," Watkins says. "He likes to support where his home team is."
As for the inherent irony in Owens, easily considered one of the most selfish players in pro sports, writing a book about sharing, well, Watkins kinda laughs. "It's from the heart, Robert," she says, knowing this ain't the last time she's gonna get that particular question. "He really believes in teaching people lessons. He said he doesn't always learn the lesson the first time, but when he gets it he wants to share it with others."
Really, now where did I put my painkillers and herbal supplements? Just saw 'em this morning... --Robert Wilonsky