Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s PDF AZW3 EPUB MOBI TXT Download

The New York Times bestselling author of Sweetness and Gunslinger delivers the first all-encompassing account of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of professional sports’ most-revered—and dominant—dynasties. The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s personified the flamboyance and excess of the decade over which they reigned. Beginning with the arrival of Earvin “Magic” Johnson as the number-one overall pick of the 1979 draft, the Lakers played basketball with gusto and pizzazz, unleashing coach Jack McKinney’s “Showtime” run-and-gun style on a league unprepared for their speed and ferocity—and became the most captivating show in sports and, arguably, in all-around American entertainment. The Lakers’ roster overflowed with exciting all-star-caliber players, including center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and they were led by the incomparable Pat Riley, known for his slicked-back hair, his Armani suits, and his arrogant strut. Hollywood’s biggest celebrities lined the court and gorgeous women flocked to the arena. Best of all, the team was a winner. Between 1980 and 1991, the Lakers played in an unmatched nine NBA championship series, capturing five of them.Bestselling sportswriter Jeff Pearlman draws from almost three hundred interviews to take the first full measure of the Lakers’ epic Showtime era. A dazzling account of one of America’s greatest sports sagas, Showtime is packed with indelible characters, vicious rivalries, and jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes stories of the players’ decadent Hollywood lifestyles.  From the Showtime era’s remarkable rise to its tragic end—marked by Magic Johnson’s 1991 announcement that he had contracted HIV—Showtime is a gripping narrative of sports, celebrity, and 1980s-style excess.

Jeff Pearlman
October 7, 2014
496 pages

File Size: 79 MB
Available File Formats: PDF AZW3 DOCX EPUB MOBI TXT or Kindle audiobook Audio CD(Several files can be converted to each other)
Language: English, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch, chinese

Praise for Showtime“The Showtime Lakers are the dynasty that forever changed the NBA, transforming a game into an entertainment spectacle. Through his relentless reporting and buoyant writing, Jeff Pearlman has delivered the story in full, from rare insight into Kareem and Magic to what (ital) really (ital) went on after-hours in the Forum Club. Once you start “Showtime,” you won’t be able to put it down.”—Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports NBA columnist and author of the The Miracle of St. Anthony “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 Every 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“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”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 IllustratedJeff 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  “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 LifePraise for Sweetness”Mr. Halberstam would have been the first to insist that we not confuse fiction with nonfiction, and that we not mistake biography — the telling of a life — for hagiography — the burnishing of a legend. Which was football’s big trouble last week, it turns out, as lots of folks who should know better took exception to a new biography of Walter Payton.”—, “The Sporting Life””I found the Walter of your book to be more of a hero than the one people refer to.”—Rick Hogan, WGN Sunday Papers”I have read the book and I can tell you your appreciation of Walter will be heightened if you read the whole book and not just the excerpt.” — Rick Kogan”Jeff Pearlman has written Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, which depicts Mr. Payton as perhaps the greatest all-around football player ever, a generous teammate and a loving father.”—Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition”Over the weekend I read an advance copy of Sweetness and found it to be an incredible, thoughtful, deep and profound read. It’s exceptional work.  I wouldn’t let an out-of-context excerpt and some enraged condemnations get in the way of a fascinating read about a fascinating man.”—Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports”READ THE BOOK…But if you like texture, if you want to get the sense of a real life lived by a real person with real beauty within and real warts, start reading and do so with an open mind.”—The Indianapolis Star”Pearlman did not set out to expose Payton but to understand him, to identify and define the qualities that made him so appealing. He was a football-playing hero to millions, true, but he was also a human being of considerable complexity. There’s a story in how those two sides intersected, and a skilled biographer gets to that story … If Walter Payton, magnificent football player and Chicago treasure, is enough for you, ignore the book and cherish your memories. If Walter Payton, flawed but fascinating human being, intrigues you, read it. You might come away with a greater appreciation.”—The New York Times”If Walter Payton, magnificent football player and Chicago treasure, is enough for you, ignore the book and cherish your memories. If Walter Payton, flawed but fascinating human being, intrigues you, read it. You might come away with a greater appreciation.” -New York Times About the Author Jeff Pearlman is a New York Times bestselling author and sports writer. He has worked as a columnist for and, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a features writer for Newsday, and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and He lives in New York. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. “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.  Read more <div id="

  • I was not a Lakers fan in the 80’s, but I did root for them against the Celtics. Growing up as a teenager during their dynasty I appreciated their greatness. Magic was in a world of his own and was simply amazing to watch. This book does an awesome job of providing an in depth history of their dynasty. I learned so many things while reading this book. I knew sex and cocaine were rampant during that era, but had no idea to what degree. I was surprised that the Lakers wives were that passive about the way in which their husbands had sex with so many different women. Very interesting to say the least.I didn’t know the depths of jealously that Norm Nixon had for Johnson. I really enjoyed reading those stories and just how much the team grew tired of Kareem. I’ve never been a fan of Kareem and reading this book confirms how much of an arrogant and self-centered dude he was during his playing days. The reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I thought the author could have gone into more detail about Johnson’s retirement. I know the book was focused on the Showtime era and how the stories about Johnson having HIV is discussed in many other books, but I felt as though that chapter was very rushed as if the author had to meet a deadline. That chapter didn’t flow as eloquently as the other chapters in the book. If there was an option for 4.5 stars that’s really what I would have given the book. Regardless, I thought it was one of the best books that I’ve read. The book definitely provided a nice getaway from the Covid-19 hysteria.
  • Out of conflict, strife, and sheer determination, if we’re fortunate, comes greatness. Amongst our finest collections of art, music, and film, we often witness unparalleled beauty emerge from uncompromised will and pressure, like a diamond out of coal or a dynasty out of thin air.This happens in sports as well, for what is sport if not entertainment. Nowhere, and at no time, was this more evident than in Los Angeles back in the early 1980s.At long last, HBO has released its limited series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” directed by Adam McKay. As of right now, four episodes have been released. It is unclear how long the series will run but this fan says, the more the merrier!The series is based upon the 2014 publication entitled “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” written by Jeff Pearlman. It traces the bizarre and unlikely circumstances that led to the creation of one of the greatest teams in sports history, one that not only changed the NBA but professional sports as we know them.Aware the series was greenlighted, I waited months for its release. I now count down the days to Sunday when each next episode is aired. After hearing the book was even more captivating, I chose to read it while viewing the series. I can confirm that both the series, and the book, are unputdownable.The series traces the determination of one man, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, as he is set upon buying the Los Angeles Lakers and turning them into a championship franchise, using his own personal flair and vision. Buss was unlike any character in a town full of them, a fresh, rebellious face amongst NBA owners. Philandering yet not misogynistic, egotistical yet generous to a fault, Buss put the pieces in place and became the financial force behind the Lakers dynasty. He bought the team at a time when the league went unwatched, yet he saw something others didn’t: potential. Buss is played brilliantly by John C. Reilly. So brilliantly, in fact, that it led to a riff between director Adam McKay and comedian/actor Will Ferrell, who desperately wanted the role. Reilly, however, was the man for the job. His performance is so strong, he convinces you he’s Buss, with the all too familiar combover, the buttoned-down shirts and the win-at-any-cost attitude.Buss came along at the ideal time for another man, about to turn pro, would change the sport as we know it. As you’ll find out by watching the series, reading the book (or as I recommend, both), Buss was dead set on drafting Magic Johnson, even though the Lakers already had a point guard in Norm Nixon. Both book and series elaborate on the strife between Johnson and Nixon as they battled for the same position, until the choice became clear, even to Nixon.McKay (and Pearlman) develop other unforgettable, integral characters, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley (played by Adrian Brody), Paul Westhead (played by Jason Segel), Buss’ daughter Jeanie (who now owns the team), I could go on but no spoilers here.Okay, a few. You’ll watch (or read) stories previously untold of dead bodies found in trunks of cars, life-threatening bicycle accidents, Fonzarelli-like polaroid albums of scantily clad women and copious amounts of career-threatening cocaine.A self-professed basketball historian, Pearlman (and the series) uncover things even I didn’t know: Jerry West’s erratic temper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sour attitude for all things he didn’t trust and Pat Riley’s deep-rooted depression as he looked to psychologically rebound from being the most famous guy on an all-white Kentucky team that lost to Texas Western, the first college team to ever start five black players. The book is beautifully written, as it’s a beautiful story to tell. Similarly, the series is beautifully acted and directed.The forgotten man in all this, who perhaps inspired Pearlman to write the book, and McKay to recreate it in series form, was Jack McKinney, who Pearlman points out most basketball outsiders had never heard of. McKinney was the mastermind behind the fastbreak offense. Although he wasn’t flashy (Buss initially opposed the McKinney hire), his offense was. No isolation, constant movement, no winding down of the shot clock, basketball in one fluid motion. The team would be better conditioned than any other and their offense would dare you to stop it. Magic Johnson, portrayed eerily and just as charismatically by Quincy Isaiah, was the man designed to run the point and play the part, despite the irony of his last name. After this role, it will be hard to see Isaiah in anything else and not think Magic Johnson.Thanks to Buss, Magic, and several other real-life characters in both the book and series, the franchise, and the NBA, was forever changed. Sports became entertainment and the league went prime time. Thanks in large part to Magic, and his forever-linked rival Larry Bird, the NBA salvaged its image and became must-see TV. They became household names and the most recognizable athletes in the world.I am smack dab in the middle of both the series and the book and thoroughly enjoying both. Even the most ardent basketball purist will enjoy the series, renamed from Showtime (the book’s name and team’s persona) to Winning Time (as Showtime is the name of HBO’s long-time rival).McKay, as usual, is brilliant. The series is gritty, sexy, edgy, informative, and filmed in a way that takes you back in time to unravel one of the greatest sports stories we never knew. Watch Winning Time. Read Showtime. And if you have the inclination, do so simultaneously in surround sound for full effect. Its Magic is infectious.
  • I’m a diehard Knicks fan—I even wrote a book about that—but I still very much enjoyed this. I have been watching basketball since the 1960s and I feel the Showtime Lakers were the best NBA team for a period of time that I have ever seen. (Plus, I must confess I took great pleasure in seeing them beat the Celtics twice in the NBA Finals and only wish it had been three times.)Jeff Pearlman did a wonderful job capturing the totality of the behind-the-scenes events that helped define that team and that era.Even if you were not alive during the 1980s, if you have any interest in NBA history I’m confident you will enjoy this book.
  • I picked up this book because I loved the Winning Time series on HBO. This book really flushed out a lot of the stories about the Showtime Lakers. And there were a lot of stories! Pearlman describes a lot of the Lakers players,coaches, wives and executives in entertaining and page turning fashion. Particularly memorable: Magic; Kareem; Dr. Buss; Jerry West and Pat Riley. Made me want to read more Sports books.
  • If you remember the Lakers of the 80’s this will be interesting, especially the early chapters about how Dr. Buss acquire the team. The TV version on HBO is based on this book but combines some characters and is more dramatic than the book.
  • I was too young to know about Showtime of the late 70’s -early 80’s, so a lot of what I read was news to me. This was an awesome tell all about one of the greatest teams (both on and off the court). Any sports fan will enjoy this book.
  • I bought it for my grandfather. He said he liked the stories in it. He just wished that the chapters where longer, and they did not jump around so much from story to story. It is hard to keep up with the book since it jumps around so much.
  • Great detail and behind the scene anecdotes. Well written and an entertaining read. I recommend this book for all Laker fans who remember “Showtime”
  • From 1979 when Dr. Jerry Buss ( he held a PhD in Chemistry) bought the Los Angeles Lakers and drafted Earvin “Magic” Johnson, until 1991, the Lakers were the preeminent team in basketball, playing in nine championship series, winning five. This is the inside story of that team, nicknamed “Showtime” and the central characters involved.The owner, Jerry Buss, who loved the ladies and built the Forum Club, which became the hot spot for players, celebrities and invited guests, featuring food, drinks, women and drugs.The GM, Jerry West, keen spotter of talent and a “win at all cost” attitude.The coach, Pat Riley, a coaching genius whose ego overtook him.The players, featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabber, the game`s best center and all time scoring leader, but a thoroughly unlikeable person off the floor, Magic Johnson, who ran the team, James Worthy, All Star forward, who wasn`t the family man he appeared to be and the surrounding cast which included genuine talent, kooks, misfits and short lived stars.Described are the key games over the decade, the relationship and rivalry between Magic and Bird; Magic and Isiah Thomas, and what goes into building and maintaining a championship team.This is a championship book.
  • Solita scrittura fluida, divertende. Ricostruzione storica impeccabile. Pearlman è una garanzia.
  • I’ve been an NBA fan since i was a kid. Jordan was at his peak and helped me fall in love with the game. Since then I’ve tried to catch up on the history of the game and some of the best teams/players. I’m not a Lakers fan at all (blame Kobe) but this book is great!I already knew some history of the showtime Lakers, but this was a really fun read filled with great anecdotes and a nice prospective of the ups and downs of a legendary team.Highly recommend if you are a basketball fan.
  • Amazing inside look at the team of the 80’s, thoroughly enjoyed it! Many player interviews done recently some 25 years or longer later made it quite interesting reading.
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