Journalist Neal Karlen is the first to admit he is almost completely lacking in basketball skills except for one thing: his ability to spin a ball on his fingertip.
That one skill, though, changed his life. He didn’t know it at the time, but it attracted the attention of the soon-to-be music legend Prince when the two were both middle school students in north Minneapolis.
Years later, Prince would let Karlen into his inner circle.
Over some 30 years, Karlen interviewed the press-averse Prince for national publications. He also became used to unexpected late-night phone calls and occasional visits to his apartment.
Karlen recently spoke with MPR’s Euan Kerr about his new book “This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey On and Off the Record,” which details a complicated relationship with a complex man.
“Despite all these great biographies out there — great discographies and memoirs,” Karlen said, “no one had shown him, I didn’t think, as a guy, just a human being.”
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