A comprehensive oral history of the basketball team that forever
married the worlds of sports and celebrity. Michael Jordan may be
the greatest basketball player of all time, and the Boston Celtics
may have won the most NBA championships, but no team has enjoyed a
higher profile on the hardwood than the Los Angeles Lakers. From
obscure origins in Minneapolis, where the team first rose to
prominence behind the dominating play of George Mikan and Jim
Pollard, the Lakers breathed life into the sport by turning
basketball into a Hollywood film and its players into stars.
Lazenby chronicles the story of the franchise from its earliest
moments through its relocation to Los Angeles; relates its titanic,
frustrating battles with the Boston Celtics in the 1960s; notes the
arrival of Earvin "Magic" Johnson and the phenomenon of "Showtime";
and concludes by charting the trajectory of the charmed, then
doomed, duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Throughout, the
author relies on those who played and coached for the Lakers to
tell the bulk of the story; much of the book consists of quotations
from familiar names like Elgin Baylor, Rod Hundley, Jerry West, Pat
Riley and Chick Hearn, and not-so-familiar ones like Sid Hartman,
John Kundla and Gary Vitti. This makes for informative, but
stylistically uneven, reading. In addition, since the exploits of
the Lakers on the basketball court are so well known, novel
insights are confined largely to what happened off the court. Some
examples include the comic crash-landing of the team plane in a
snowy Iowa cornfield, and the undervalued promotional work of Lou
Mohs, who helped the Lakers get their bearings after moving to the
West Coast. Sections on the private life of Magic Johnson, who was
diagnosed with HIV in 1991, give the book a few poignantly critical
moments, which are otherwise few and far between. Like a Bible for
the Laker faithful, but largely inscrutable for the uninitiated.
The first definitive oral history of the ever popular L.A.
The L.A. Lakers have long been one of the NBA's most exciting
teams. In "The Show," critically acclaimed sportswriter Roland
Lazenby brings the story of this charismatic team to life in an
unprecedented oral history, featuring such legendary players as
Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, and Magic
Johnson, along with current stars like Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe
Through in-depth interviews with players, coaches, and many
other key figures, Lazenby follows the Lakers from their birthplace
in 1946 Minneapolis to their eventual successes and failures in Los
Angeles, using his flair for storytelling and eye for detail to
show you exactly why the 14-time NBA champion Lakers are a
celebrated favorite for sports fans all over America.
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