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Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty

Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty

by Jeff Pearlman


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The story of the Lakers dynasty from 1996 through 2004, when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal combined—and collided—to help bring the Lakers three straight championships and restore the franchise as a powerhouse

In the history of modern sport, there have never been two high-level teammates who loathed each other the way Shaquille O’Neal loathed Kobe Bryant, and Kobe Bryant loathed Shaquille O’Neal. From public sniping and sparring, to physical altercations and the repeated threats of trade, it was warfare. And yet, despite eight years of infighting and hostility, by turns mediated and encouraged by coach Phil Jackson, the Shaq-Kobe duo resulted in one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. Together, the two led the Lakers to three straight championships and returned glory and excitement to Los Angeles. 

In the tradition of Jeff Pearlman’s bestsellers Showtime, Boys Will Be Boys, and The Bad Guys Won, Three-Ring Circus is a rollicking deep dive into one of sports’ most fraught yet successful pairings. 

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328530004
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/22/2020
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 169,844
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

JEFF PEARLMAN is the New York Times best-selling author of nine books, including Football for a Buck, The Bad Guys Won, Boys Will Be Boys, Showtime, Sweetness, and Gunslinger. He is the host of the Two Writers Slinging Yang podcast and blogs regularly at

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue xiii

1 Magic 1

2 The Chosen One 10

3 Kazaam! 36

4 Formation 53

5 Nick the Quick 72

6 Fox Catcher 96

7 Worm Food 121

8 Phil the Void 149

9 Turning Around 174

10 Someone Shoot J.R. 205

11 The Coaching Job 236

12 Kings Without a Crown 251

13 Gettin' Bored with It 273

14 Room 35 294

15 R.A.P.E. 312

16 The Last Season 330

17 Survival 355

18 The End 375

Epilogue 387

Acknowledgments 391

Bibliography 396

Notes 398

Index 414

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