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Davis, a Sports Illustrated writer and CBS Sports studio analyst, offers a vivid account of the sensational 1979 NCAA college finals-featuring two potential pro basketball stars, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird-that ushered in the current reign of the NBA worldwide. With the advent of round-the-clock ESPN sports coverage, the media-hyped game for the college national basketball championship between Johnson's Michigan State Spartans and Bird's Indiana State Sycamores on March 25, 1979, generated a huge TV audience, much ink and paved the way for a generation of pro basketball all-stars. Davis is adept at pinpointing the personality differences in Bird and Johnson both on and off the court, delving into the shy, withdrawn white Indiana farm boy and the popular black Michigan kid with the ready smile. His insights into the strategies and players of both teams leading up to the game is factual and straightforward, but the dramatic centerpiece of the book is the game itself, with all its ebbs and flows. All in all, this is an outstanding example of sports writing about a American sport, writing that is larger than the personalities or financial considerations. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.