The Pivotal Season: How the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Changed the NBA

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"Underlying it all is a reverence for a game that, when played well, can be a transcendent personal experience and a joy to watch."

- Booklist on More Than a Game

"The ...

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Overview

Praise for Charley Rosen:

"Rosen is the game's foremost literary chronicler."

- The Wall Street Journal

"The best nonfiction treatment of the affair."

- The New York Times Book Review on Scandals of '51

"Underlying it all is a reverence for a game that, when played well, can be a transcendent personal experience and a joy to watch."

- Booklist on More Than a Game

"The technical details in this wonderful book will give any fan a better appreciation of the game."

- Publishers Weekly on More Than a Game

"A fascinating view of the seamy side of sports gambling."

- Library Journal on The Wizard of Odds

"This is not simply a novel about basketball in the dark ages. This is a book about guilt and redemption, about the loss of innocence, about racism and bigotry, about class differences. ... Mr. Rosen gets the ambiance just right."

- New York Times Book Review on The House of Moses All-Stars

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Charley Rosen, the NBA's foremost historian, brilliantly recreates that record-breaking Lakers season. The highlights include a thirty-three-game winning streak that will never be broken, as well as the 'Hollywood Lakers' astounding the sports world by proving that style and substance are not mutually exclusive concepts. Along the way, Rosen reveals secret sides of the participants-Chamberlain's disinclination for post-game showers, Jerry West's nit-picking perfectionism, and the inner workings of coach Bill Sharman's personal and professional game plans.... I've always believed that my Chicago Bulls championship teams in the later nineties would have easily handled Russell's Celtics and Magic Johnson's showtime Lakers. But the 1971-72 Lakers would have given us a battle royal."

- from the Foreword by Phil Jackson

"Charley Rosen has written an accurate, expert, and fascinating account of one of the most enjoyable seasons any coach could ever hope to have. Even though I can still remember how each turning of that season played out, just reading this book got me excited all over again."

- Bill Sharman, NBA Hall of Fame Player and Coach

Library Journal
Despite its subtitle, this book is less the story of how the Lakers changed the NBA and more a chronicle of the team's 1971-72 championship season. As a narrative of the season, it is complete: Rosen had acres of primary sources, interviews, and inside access. He details many of the games and shows the arc of a season the way few books do. But Rosen's style is also heavy and laden with sportswriter cliches. He asserts that the Lakers of 1971 changed the NBA, but it's not at all clear that they did, and Rosen's arguments are unconvincing. He claims that basketball in Los Angeles in the 1960s was lazy and lacked the killer instinct possessed by East Coast teams. But in the 1960s, John Wooden's UCLA Bruins were laying waste to the NCAA. He also beats the dead horse of "flashy, selfish West Coast versus old-school, defensive, hard-nosed East Coast" that is still with us today. He ignores that ABA teams of the time were as dunk-happy as anybody and West Coast NBA teams like Seattle were well rounded. The book is lopsided and does not prove Rosen's point. Of interest primarily to die-hard Laker fans.-James Miller, Springfield Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312325091
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Charley Rosen

Charley Rosen set scoring and rebounding records at Hunter College, earned a master's in medieval literature, played in the old Eastern League, and coached in the Continental Basketball Association. The Pivotal Season is his thirteenth book, and he has also written dozens of articles for publications as diverse as Rolling Stone and The New York Times Book Review. He is currently the NBA analyst for foxsports.com. Rosen lives in Accord, New York, with his wife, Daia.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword xi
1 Endless Replay 1
2 How Many Lakes Are There in Los Angeles? 6
3 Mission Improbable 17
4 The Players 34
5 Hula Hoops and Dress Rehearsals 59
6 There's No Place Like the Road 71
7 Addition by Subtraction 98
8 Streaking 102
9 The First Showdown 121
10 Still Streaking 129
11 If It Was Easy, Anybody Could Do It 138
12 21 and Counting 145
13 The Second Showdown 157
14 The Aftermath and the All-Star Game 165
15 Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho 171
16 The Third Showdown 177
17 The Dog Days 182
18 The Slowdown, the Eggheads, and the Fourth Showdown 196
19 Rounding the Clubhouse Turn 203
20 The Fifth Showdown and the Homestretch 210
21 The Play-offs and the Bulls 217
22 The Last Showdown 232
23 East Is East, but West Isn't West 246
24 The Party's Over 267
25 The Shape of Things to Come 274
Name Index 281
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