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.
In this engaging though uneven biography, Lazenby, author of Michael Jordan: The Life, turns his eye to another basketball legend: the recently retired Kobe Bryant. As a kid, Bryant dissected videotaped NBA games and committed himself to practice with a flagellant's zeal, screaming at and then chasing a teammate who botched a drill. That devotion, coupled with his otherworldly abilities (his father, Joe, played in the NBA), made Bryant a first-round NBA draft pick at age 17. Dizzying success followed: five NBA championships, an MVP award, Olympic gold medals. However, he became hardened by challenges: an uncommunicative head coach in Phil Jackson; a superstar teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, whose fun-loving approach was his polar antithesis; and sexual assault charges in 2003. The book works best when Lazenby explores Bryant's childhood and his competitive makeup. This portion of the books also occurs before Lazenby's utilitarian fact/long quote/fact style grows exhausting. Eventually, the author runs out of sources, and the narrative turns into a year-by-year recap of Bryant's career, often lacking genuine insight.