Chris Leslie-Hynan is a very busy man these days. With the success of his first novel, Ride Around Shining, he has been touring on and off for well over the last year. I caught up with him somewhere around Las Vegas to discuss his novel and also some of the biases and expectations he had to confront when writing about race, class, and envy.

Raymond Felton is still kind of fat.  That’s not an insult to the Knicks’ starting point guard, but simply more of an observation. Considering that the last point guard to run the offense on the hardwood of Madison Square Garden was a relatively skinny, twenty-three year old Asian-American Harvard graduate, Felton’s stouter appearance is of note.

The reason why I bring up Felton’s weight is that, after he finished a depressing season playing for the Portland Trailblazers, a season where he averaged a career low in points (11.4) and field goal percentage (40%) —and just looked generally lethargic and round—one of the go-to jokes to make in NBA circles was to remark on how out of shape Raymond Felton was. Portland fans hated him and, because Portland fans are known for their passion and knowledge of basketball, general NBA connosieurs lost respect for him too. No one likes a player who half-asses his way through an NBA season, especially when that player is making $7.5 million per year and screwing over the Rose City.