The Show: The Inside Story of the Spectacular Los Angeles Lakers in the Words of those who Lived It / Edition 1

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Overview

The first definitive oral history of the ever popular L.A. Lakers

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 Bryant.

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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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
*Starred Review* The Los Angeles Lakers—along with the Boston Celtics—represent the best in the five-decade-plus history of the National Basketball Association. Lazenby, author of many sports books including Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant (1999), has written an oral history of the franchise from its incarnation in Minneapolis in the early 1950s through its most recent run of championships under coach Phil Jackson and key players Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

The book is must reading for NBA fans both young and old. Most fascinating are the stories from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Lakers, led by Hall-of-Famers Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, reached the NBA finals five times in six years and lost each time. The anguish experienced by West—who has since become the league's most accomplished executive and general manager—over those losses is palpable. A driven individual and as fierce a competitor as the league has ever known, West nearly quit in frustration and entertained thoughts that the losses were some sort of divinely dictated personal punishment. He eventually got his championship as a player and many more as the team's general manager.

Other fascinating eras include the Magic Johnson years and the Bryant-O'Neal and Jackson championships in which the attendant soap opera of clashing egos was as almost as interesting as the action on the court. The best book on pro basketball since Sam Smith's The Jordan Rules (1992).
—Wes Lukowsky

Booklist

*Starred Review* The Los Angeles Lakers--along with the Boston Celtics--represent the best in the five-decade-plus history of the National Basketball Association. Lazenby, author of many sports books including Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant (1999), has written an oral history of the franchise from its incarnation in Minneapolis in the early 1950s through its most recent run of championships under coach Phil Jackson and key players Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

The book is must reading for NBA fans both young and old. Most fascinating are the stories from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Lakers, led by Hall-of-Famers Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, reached the NBA finals five times in six years and lost each time. The anguish experienced by West--who has since become the league's most accomplished executive and general manager--over those losses is palpable. A driven individual and as fierce a competitor as the league has ever known, West nearly quit in frustration and entertained thoughts that the losses were some sort of divinely dictated personal punishment. He eventually got his championship as a player and many more as the team's general manager.

Other fascinating eras include the Magic Johnson years and the Bryant-O'Neal and Jackson championships in which the attendant soap opera of clashing egos was as almost as interesting as the action on the court. The best book on pro basketball since Sam Smith's The Jordan Rules (1992).
--Wes Lukowsky

Publishers Weekly
The love-'em-or-hate-'em Los Angeles Lakers and their 14 NBA championships may be the most overreported story in professional basketball, with countless books written about the team's flashy playing style and the notorious off-court activities of superstars like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Lazenby, having written excellent books on current Lakers coach Phil Jackson and top Lakers player Kobe Bryant, possesses tremendous insight into the team, plus the trust of players and coaches, which helps him deliver this entertaining oral history. Fans-and detractors-of today's Lakers will devour the book's second half, which presents insights into the Kareem-Magic years, especially about the women and drugs readily available to NBA players. But Lazenby also presents how the 1940s rivalry between center George Mikan and guard Jim Pollard parallels the recent rivalry between center Shaquille O'Neal and guard Bryant. Many authors have depicted the brusque, demanding nature of Jack Kent Cooke, the big-spending Lakers owner during the 1960s and early '70s, as Lazenby does, but it's refreshing to read former Laker Rod Hundley's pithy appraisal of Cooke: "He was the number one asshole that ever lived." (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Touted as the first, definitive oral history of the Los Angeles Lakers, this book is the true, behind-the-scenes story of the basketball franchise as told by the Lakers and by opposing players, announcers, administrators, and fans who have worked for or followed the team since its start in Detroit almost 60 years ago. All of the major players and coaches are here, from Elgin Baylor to Shaq and Kobe-together with their recent scandals-and Phil Jackson. The chapters covering the Magic Johnson era are particularly compelling, with Johnson's reminiscences about playing when HIV-positive. The reader learns so much about the team that it is difficult to absorb everything. Lazenby, the author of numerous books on the NBA, including Mindgames about Phil Jackson and Mad Game on Kobe Bryant, pulls the reader into the tale with humorous quotes and innumerable first-person accounts, providing a rich, very entertaining team history. Public libraries should expect a lot of interest in the title. Academic libraries collecting in sports history/business should have it as well. Highly recommended.-Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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 theprivate 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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071430340
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 12/5/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Lazenby

Roland Lazenby is a sportswriter and the author of numerous sports books, including Mindgames: Phil Jackson's Long Strange Journey and Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant. His work has been featured in such publications as Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many others. He lives in Salem, Virginia.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Really good book!

    Really amazing book about a really great team!

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