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Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s (Anglais) Relié – 4 mars 2014


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Extrait

“Spencer Haywood?”

The name hangs there; awkwardly suspended as if attached to the string of a balloon. I am looking at Jack McKinney. Jack McKinney is looking at me. It is a warm February day in Naples, Florida. We are on an enclosed patio. Small glasses of ice water have been served. The wind whistles in the background.

I am the journalist, here to interview the greatest NBA coach 999 of 1,000 basketball fans have never heard of. Jack McKinney is here to answer my questions. And yet, he can’t. The replies start, then stutter, then stop, then start again. The thoughts seem on point, turn left, hit a traffic circle and wind up somewhere in Bethesda. There are, he insists, wonderful basketball memories circulating throughout his 77-year-old brain; joyful tales of his eight years as the head coach at St. Joseph’s University; tender moments with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton and …

“What’s your name again?” McKinney suddenly says, his eyes gazing downward.

“Jeff,” I say. “Jeff Pearlman”

“That’s right. I wrote your name down five different times before you came here. It’s embarrassing, the way my memory …”

From the next room, his wife Claire speaks up. “No sob stories, Jack!” she says.

With that, Jack McKinney refocuses. He looks at me, rubs his chin. “What were we talking about?” he asks.

“Spencer Haywood,” I say. “You coached him …”

“I coached Spencer Haywood?”

On the table, I have placed a manila folder. It is labeled JACK MCKINNEY in brown marker. Inside are photocopies of 30 or so articles, chronicling the rise and fall of the man who, in the summer of 1979, was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers to coach a team that featured Abdul-Jabbar, the six-time NBA MVP, Haywood, a four-time NBA All-Star, as well as a rookie point guard from Michigan State named Earvin (Magic) Johnson. The clippings tell the story of a 44-year-old basketball lifer finally getting his shot. “He created Showtime,” said Norm Nixon, Los Angeles’ All-Star guard. “That should never be forgotten. Jack McKinney created Showtime.”

Yet now, as we sit here on a patio, sipping ice water to dull the awkwardness, the man who created Showtime barely remembers creating Showtime. The Lakers jumped out to a 9-4 start that season, and fans loved the way his team played. The Lakers were neon lights along the Sunset Strip. Johnson and Nixon formed perhaps the fastest backcourt in NBA history. Haywood seemed revived and Abdul-Jabbar, the standoffish icon, was smiling and laughing.

Back in the day, when the NBA was still relatively bare-boned, teams employed one head coach and one assistant. McKinney’s sidekick was Paul Westhead, another young Philadelphia guy who played for his boss at St. Joseph’s.

On the morning of November 8, 1979, the phone in McKinney’s Palos Verdes home rang. This was the Lakers’ first off day of the young season, and Westhead was itching for some time on the nearby clay court. It was 9:30 am, and the call woke McKinney from his sleep.

“Want to play some tennis?” Westhead asked.

McKinney grunted—sure.

“I’ve got the court for two hours,” Westhead said. “We can play singles at 10, maybe dome doubles with the girls at 11.”

“OK,” he said. “Give me a chance to get some coffee. I can be there in a half hour.”

McKinney showered and drank his morning joe. When he entered the garage, McKinney found that Claire had taken their one car. Leaning against the wall, however, was his son John’s red-and-white Schwinn Le Tour II.

Sure, it’d been a while since Jack McKinney had ridden a bike. But he certainly knew how. “Of course I did,” he says. “Of course …”

***

“Spencer Haywood.”

The name is stated again, only this time with more confidence. “I coached him in Milwaukee, right?”

“No,” I say. “With the Lakers.”

McKinney glances at me, initially puzzled, then dejected. He knows I am here in my quest to tell the story of the Showtime-era Los Angeles Lakers; a story that, were it not for a day off and a tennis game and a vacant garage and a wobbly bicycle and awful luck, would feature Jack McKinney as a star, not merely a small-ish name halfway through the credits. That’s what haunts everyone who knows and loves the man. Not the accident, per se, but what could have been had the accident never occurred. If—on the morning of November 8, 1979—Jack McKinney decides to ignore the phone; or opts to sleep in, or jogs the 1 ½ miles, is Paul Westhead known as one of the godfathers of fast-break basketball and the famed guru who ran Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble to 160-point games at Loyola Marymount? Is Pat Riley an eight-time NBA champion and multi-millionaire pitchman?

Is Jack McKinney universally acknowledged as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association?

“I have no doubt that he would be,” said Nixon. “No doubt whatsoever.”

As we sit here, still talking, still sipping water, McKinney glances through the folder, searching for faded memories and long-lost sparks. He would coach again, hired by the Indiana Pacers at the behest of a guilt-ravaged Jerry Buss, the Lakers’ owner. Yet despite being named the league’s Coach of the Year in 1980-81, he was never the same. Members of the Pacers took the unprecedented step of writing their names in black marker along the front of their shorts so their coach wouldn’t get confused. Later, in a game during his final coaching stint, with Kansas City, several Kings players told the media that, during a timeout, McKinney characterized a play as one “just like we did against St. John’s”—a reference to the New York City school he coached against while at St. Joseph’s.

Ultimately, McKinney left the NBA altogether, devoting the remainder of his working days to selling sporting goods. He watched the NBA from time to rime, but the pain of what could (and should) have been far outweighed any moments of joy. McKinney is not a bitter man, but he is human. “Life isn’t always fair,” he says. “I’m OK with how everything has turned out. I’m loved. But, well, it’s not always fair …”

In his apartment, there is only a single hint that he ever coached the Lakers—a crystal wife carafe with LAKERS etched along the side. Occasionally Riley, now the president of the Miami Heat, will leave McKinney tickets for a game. “He always says, ‘This is the guy who made my career possible,’” McKinney says. “’This is the guy.’”

There is a long pause. A long, lengthy, painful, awkward, ugly pause. I want to ask Jack McKinney so many things but, come the end of our interview, I simply shake his hand and thank him for the time.

Before me is the man most responsible for the birth of the Showtime era of professional basketball.

If only he could remember it.

Reprinted from SHOWTIME: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright Jeff Pearlman, 2014.

Revue de presse

Praise for Jeff Pearlman and Showtime

"A marvelous and dishy history of the Showtime Lakers, full of bare-knuckled assessments . . . What a tonic Jeff Pearlman's new book is for forlorn Lakers fans suffering through the team's disastrous current season."
Los Angeles Times

"The Showtime Lakers weren’t just the best team of their era. They were also the most compelling, the most charismatic, the most complex. The Lakers of Kareem, Magic and Riley were to the 1980s what the Yankees of Mantle, Ford, and Stengel were to the 1950s: A team perfectly matched to its time, and place. Jeff Pearlman, typically, delivers the goods, celebrating them for their achievements, pulling no punches on the subject of their shortcomings. This is a vivid portrait of a great team, in full."
—Jeremy Schaap, ESPN commentator, New York Times best-selling author of Cinderella Man and Triumph 

"The names (Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Riley, Buss) and the games (four championships) have long been studied by basketball's anthropologists. But so much of the story of the Showtime Lakers, THE Team of the 80s, took place behind closed doors. Jeff Pearlman, as is his wont, pries them open and finds … a whole lot of L.A. living."
—Jack McCallum, author of New York Times best-seller Dream Team

"An era that redefined the game has found a storyteller more than up to the task. By any measure, Showtime is magic."
—Mark Frost, author of The Greatest Game Ever Played

"Showtime proves to be prime-time literary entertainment. A rocking, roller-coast of a ride it reads like the Lakers of Magic and Riley played—an artistic fast-break of revealing, sometimes shocking tales tinged with sex, drugs and, most of all humanity. You want to know the real story behind a beautifully dysfunctional basketball dynasty? Read this book."
—Armen Keteyian, 60 Minutes Sports

"Showtime is a rollicking ride, full of great characters, killer anecdotes and surprising details. Pearlman is an indefatigable reporter, and here he provides an all-access pass to one of the game's greatest dynasties, with tales of Kareem, Magic, Riley and Jerry Buss in their heyday. It's a book any NBA fan—any sports fan—will devour, likely in one or two sittings."
—Chris Ballard, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

"Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that recreates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. Showtime is a great show indeed, full of colorful (and complicated) characters as well as a trove of details that even the most passionate fans will be amazed to learn. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it."
—Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life
 


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Amazon.com: 163 commentaires
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
RICK “SHAQ” GOLDSTEIN SAYS: “WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE LIKE MAGIC… YOU RUN EVERY CHANCE & UNDER EVERY POSSIBLE SITUATION” 6 mars 2014
Par Rick Shaq Goldstein - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
If you have had the opportunity to visit the NBA Hall of Fame… one of the things you’ll see are displays dedicated to teams during specific times that were considered *DYNASTIES*… One of those dynasties was the 1980’s Showtime Lakers. Before I ordered this book… let alone before I read it… I looked at my personal library and counted over twenty books regarding the Lakers. I at first said… how much more can there be on a team from over thirty years ago… and then I reminisced about how I had enjoyed three other books I read by the author Jeff Pearlman on… the Dallas Cowboys… Walter Payton… and the steroid cheat… Roger Clemens. I ordered the book… and as this review will confirm… I am thrilled that I did.

What makes this book so worthwhile… even with the knowledge of what I read in all the prior books I owned… and in addition to attending many of the Showtime Lakers games in person at the Fabulous Forum… and the fact that I had even played in numerous pickup games against a number of the Laker players… were three main facts… first… Jeff Pearlman invested his time and energy in an exhausting amount of piercing… in depth interviews… secondly… his writing style is smooth yet exhilarating… the reader never gets the feeling as with many other authors… that they’re just trying to fill additional pages… and the third reason… is the fact that “time” itself… over thirty plus years… over a quarter of a century has passed… and that means literary morals have changed… and what is considered acceptable in everyday journalism has changed. So thirty years ago when a written word was published… there were moral limits as to what could be written. Some examples are… in the past an author might write that Kareem was not a friendly guy… but today you can quote someone like CBS reporter Pat O’Brien as saying: “Once you accepted that Kareem was a “P”… you could get past it.” (Note: there are no abbreviations in the book… but it has been my experience that Amazon won’t publish my reviews if I spell out what is in the book… some things never change!) The author can also state unequivocally that “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hated white people.” You can also have quotes regarding Jack Kent Cooke the man who owned the Lakers-The Forum-The Hockey Kings-and-The Washington Redskins… and who sold the Lakers to Jerry Buss… from Hot Rod Hundley… who said of Cooke… “The number one “A-H” who ever lived!”

This additional literary freedom is why even if you have over twenty Laker books… many covering this time frame and period… written by everyone from Magic… to Riley… to Kareem… to writers who spent their whole careers covering the Lakers… this book is almost like reading about the same fantastic dynasty with societies blinders removed. It’s all here… from the sale of the Lakers… to Magic’s megawatt nineteen year old smile… to Kareem… snarling… moping… and growing old… to Riley wearing out his welcome… to the women… the drugs… and with the author leading the “story-telling-fast-break”… the reader will feel like he’s James Worthy… filling the lane… out on the wing… as the author passes you one gem after another… at full speed… and like “Big-Game-James”… you will never break stride… as you score a great championship read!
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Fabulous Showtime Lakers--Warts And All 19 mars 2014
Par TMStyles - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
"Showtime" is an engrossingly entertaining retrospective look at the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. It is an astonishingly compelling book relating everything you thought you knew and much that you never knew about one of the most exciting professional basketball teams of all time. This is a book not to be missed by anyone who was a basketball fan during the 80's and, in particular, a Lakers fan of that fabulous era. Kareem, Magic, Wilkes, Michael Cooper, Spencer Haywood, Bob McAdoo, Mitch Kupchak, Norm Nixon, and so many others who transform a lethargic Laker franchise into perhaps the most entertaining, fast breaking, and dysfunctional professional team of all time.

Jeff Pearlman has clearly done his homework. There are references to interviews over a three year period with all the major characters who were part of the Laker magic and interviews with many who were involved in the league but watching from afar. We learn that Showtime was the brainchild of Jack McKinney, an innovative yet doomed head coach, who saw his fling at fame destroyed by a terrible bicycle accident. The lamentable Paul Westhead era that followed was controversial and certainly ugly at times, including the feeling that Magic Johnson was the real force who got him fired. The Pat Riley era began somewhat inauspiciously and ultimately blossomed into one of the most exciting and entertaining basketball teams in the history of the NBA.

Showtime really began when Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the Lakers from Jack Kent Cooke, an owner content to be the overlord of a professional team that really didn't know its own identity or its potential. Buss changed that with his own personal desire to see a faster more entertaining game and his devotion to acquiring the young Earvin "Magic" Johnson to run his team and transform it into what quickly became known as Showtime.

"Showtime" chronicles the entire history of this era including flashbacks and behind the scenes looks at the interpersonal dynamics of the team, the coaches, and the owner. Having lived through this era and being a Laker and Celtic fan, a lot of what is represented in the book was known or at least assumed by the media but "Showtime" details the animosities, the friendships, the drug use, the wild sex, and the jealousies and pettiness of individual competitors. Norm Nixon versus Magic Johnson, the recalcitrant Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the drug addled Spencer Haywood, the front office mistakes of drafting the wrong individual, or making trades that alienated players. So much of what we saw (and didn't see) is revealed in "Showtime" to have been destructive beneath the surface.

Pearlman's book can be deeply satisfying at times, depressing and sad at times, and sometimes simply infuriating when reading of the people and the times of the Showtime Lakers. But, it all happened, and it is exhaustively chronicled in this can't-put-down look at the team that changed the face of modern-day professional basketball. If you were a fan of professional basketball and/or of the Lakers during this astonishing era of the ascendant Laker dynasty and you think you know its history, you need to read "Showtime". Pearlman's book examines this transcendent team not only on its entertaining surface, but with all the dysfunction that occurred behind closed doors revealed warts and all. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for sports fans in general and Laker fans in particular.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not only a great sports story that will delight fans of basketball, but a story of another type of show 6 mars 2014
Par Denis Vukosav - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
‘Showtime’ by Jeff Pearlman is the story of one special generation of basketball players that those years , back in eighties, every fan of this sport knew starting lineup, while still this Lakers team in addition to the Jordan’s Bulls is taken as perhaps the best one of all times.

Jeff Pearlman on 500 pages of his book that brings back memories, speaks about the times when the NBA league was maybe the most interesting ever, when the best basketball was played, and the whole spectacle was still not about the money, but based on the excellence of players whose athletic skills fans of this sport enjoyed all around the world.

And although the length of the book may seem rather large, the book is read easily because each page offers a myriad of interesting details for the most part less known to the public that the author has collected over 300 interviews conducted with all the major ‘actors’ of that exciting time of basketball sport.

The book begins in an unusual way, with an interview the author conducted with Jack McKinney, or as he introduced him “…the greatest NB coach 999 of 1,000 basketball fans have never heard of” due to his short time spent in Lakers before he suffered a very dangerous head injury after falling while bicycling, replaced by his assistant, Paul Westhead, and never been able to made it back to Lakers bench not even after next year he received NBA Coach of the Year Award while leading the Indiana Pacers.

In the book remainder, author chronologically deals with the rule of Lakers team dividing it into three major parts – Development of a Dream, Dominance and Demise of a Dynasty - bringing a comprehensive overview of the events that marked not only this team from L.A., but the world of basketball in those years. In this sense, this book is not just for Lakers fans, for those who enjoyed the mastership of Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, their legendary coach Pat Riley or the rest of the team that ruled for 12 years, but also about the world and show business these years that from this perspective seems so far away.

‘Showtime’ by Jeff Pearlman Showtime is therefore not only a great sports story that will delight fans of basketball, but a story about a time when people with pleasure went into the halls or sat in front of the TVs enjoying another type of show than today.
Fascinating Look at the Showtime Lakers 9 janvier 2015
Par C. Baker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Jeff Pearlman’s Showtime, chronicling the great Los Angeles Lakers team of the 1980’s is a fun and entertaining read about one of the most compelling sports teams ever assembled. Of course Magic Johnson takes center stage with his effervescent personality and larger than life persona who really defined the Showtime era. And he, coupled with the mercurial, sometimes inscrutable, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar formed the nucleolus of one of the most compelling and greatest dynasties NBA history.

The strength of this book is the way Pearlman is able to bring the inner personalities of the players and coaches to life – personalities that the public persona may hide. Seeing the tension and jealousy between the established Norm Nixon and the new kid on the block Magic Johnson is something that has been alluded to in the past but here the real story comes out. Ultimately the two alpha dogs could not coexist. Behind the scenes looks at the owner Jerry Buss, and executive Jerry West, and players like AC Green, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, and the underdog and fan favorite Kurt Rambis were also compelling and interesting.

The other key player in this era of course is the coach Pat Riley. He was giving the head coaching duties after an unfortunate injury ended the Lakers’ career of coach Jack McKinney, and Paul Westhead rather quickly wore out his welcome. Starting out less sure of himself than one would imagine, Riley, a great a coach, eventually become the egotist and control freak that the media has painted him out to be. He, as much as any player, also defined the Showtime era.

I have to admit that while the sexual promiscuity of many pro athletes is no secret, the stories told about the Showtime Lakers in this book were shocking to me. It was wild, wild, wild and over the top times for Magic and the boys in Los Angeles. And while a few players were using drugs it was really the partying in general and women that were center stage for these fellows off the court.

Of course the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird appears in these pages but is downplayed a bit because this is about the Lakers and their dynasty.

And finally we see the transition from the Lakers to the Bad Boy Pistons late in the decade (who were overtaken by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls).

Overall this was a fun read about a fascinating team.
Winnin Times! 1 janvier 2015
Par Michael R Naval - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
i never wanted Showtime to end but of course after so many days, I finally finished the book. I learned several new bits of information which I was not aware of previously such as how same players who were previous Lakers truly were.

I just wished that more pages were devoted to the championship finals the team was in as the narrative seemed hastened when it came to those sections.

Nevertheless, this is a great book to read for all basketball fans, particularly those who followed basketball in the 80s or the showtime era.
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