When the Game Was Ours

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From the moment these two players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most compelling rivalry in the NBA. These were the basketball epics of the 1980s — Celtics vs Lakers, East vs West, physical vs finesse, Old School vs Showtime, even white vs black. Each pushed the other to greatness — together Bird and Johnson collected eight NBA Championships, six MVP awards and helped save the floundering NBA at its most critical time. When it started they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends.  

With intimate, fly-on-the-wall detail, When the Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era of basketball and reveals for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting one another. From the heady days of trading championships to the darker days of injury and illness, we come to understand Larry’s obsessive devotion to winning and how his demons drove him on the court. We hear him talk with candor about playing through chronic pain and its truly exacting toll. In Magic we see a young, invincible star struggle with the sting of defeat, not just as a player but as a team leader.  We are there the moment he learns he’s contracted HIV and hear in his own words how that devastating news impacted his relationships in basketball and beyond. But always, in both cases, we see them prevail.

A compelling, up-close-and-personal portrait of basketball’s most inimitable duo, When the Game Was Ours is a reevaluation of three decades in counterpoint. It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketball’s best times.

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About the author

Larry Bird, in his 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, claimed 3 NBA titles, 3 MVP awards, and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. In 1992, as part of the “Dream Team” he brought home an Olympic gold medal. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he currently still holds.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., in his 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, claimed 5 NBA titles, 3 MVP awards and was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002. He also won an Olympic gold medal as part of the 1992 “Dream Team.” Currently, he is the Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and Vice President and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jackie MacMullan is a nationally recognized sports columnist, who spent three decades at the Boston Globe and covered the NBA for Sports Illustrated in the late 1990s. She is a frequent correspondent for ESPN, CNNSI and local Boston television networks. She is also a regular contestant (and the only female one) on ESPN's Around the Horn.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Nov 4, 2009
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780547416816
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
Sports & Recreation / Basketball
Sports & Recreation / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Controversial, confrontational, and driven, Coach Geno Auriemma is a force to be reckoned with-and the most accomplished male coach in women's basketball today. In his relentless quest for excellence at the University of Connecticut, he has led the Huskies to five national championships.Yet his soul never rests.For Auriemma, life affords only the briefest moments of happiness-a good round of golf, forty minutes of great basketball, a day at the beach with his family, a nice glass of wine-while disaster is seemingly always waiting to strike. It's a fatalistic philosophy, a remnant of his hardscrabble early years, but it's an outlook that has driven him to unparalleled success.In this deeply personal memoir, Geno Auriemma reveals for the first time the man behind the legend. He talks candidly about his coaching style-famed for being one of the most demanding in all the sports world. He spills the beans about his stormy dealings with other coaches such as his archrival, Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee. And with warmth and a genuine love for his champions, he writes openly about Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Nykesha Sales, Rebecca Lobo, Swin Cash, and all of his other UConn stars who have gone on to stellar WNBA careers. You get a courtside seat to all of the action-including an epilogue on the 2004-05 season, as well as interviews with the team's most celebrated players.A rare look inside the soul of a true competitor, GENO is the story of how one passionate man overcame his own fears to achieve an extraordinary record of success.
Inspired by a forthcoming major ESPN film series, this is an extraordinary oral history of basketball—its eye-opening untold history, its profound deeper meaning, its transformative influence on the world—as told through an unprecedented series of candid conversations with the game’s ultimate icons.
 
This is the greatest love story never told. It has passion and heartbreak, triumph and betrayal. It is deeply intimate yet crosses oceans, upends lives and changes nations. This is the true story of basketball.
 
It is the story of a Canadian invention that took over America, and the world. Of a supposed “white man’s sport” that became a way for people of color, women, and immigrants to claim a new place in society. Of a game that demands everything of those who love it, yet gives so much back in return.
 
To tell this story, acclaimed journalists Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores embarked on a groundbreaking mission to interview a staggering lineup of basketball trailblazers. For the first time hundreds of legends, from Kobe, Lebron and Steph Curry to Magic Johnson, Dr. J and Jerry West, spoke movingly about their greatest passion. Iconic coaches like Phil Jackson and Coach K opened up like never before. Those who shattered glass ceilings, from Bill Russell and Yao Ming to Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, explained what it really took to lay claim to their place in the game.
 
At once a definitive oral history and something far more revelatory and life affirming, Basketball: A Love Story is the defining untold oral history of how basketball came to be, and what it means to those who love it.
Controversial, confrontational, and driven, Coach Geno Auriemma is a force to be reckoned with-and the most accomplished male coach in women's basketball today. In his relentless quest for excellence at the University of Connecticut, he has led the Huskies to five national championships.Yet his soul never rests.For Auriemma, life affords only the briefest moments of happiness-a good round of golf, forty minutes of great basketball, a day at the beach with his family, a nice glass of wine-while disaster is seemingly always waiting to strike. It's a fatalistic philosophy, a remnant of his hardscrabble early years, but it's an outlook that has driven him to unparalleled success.In this deeply personal memoir, Geno Auriemma reveals for the first time the man behind the legend. He talks candidly about his coaching style-famed for being one of the most demanding in all the sports world. He spills the beans about his stormy dealings with other coaches such as his archrival, Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee. And with warmth and a genuine love for his champions, he writes openly about Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Nykesha Sales, Rebecca Lobo, Swin Cash, and all of his other UConn stars who have gone on to stellar WNBA careers. You get a courtside seat to all of the action-including an epilogue on the 2004-05 season, as well as interviews with the team's most celebrated players.A rare look inside the soul of a true competitor, GENO is the story of how one passionate man overcame his own fears to achieve an extraordinary record of success.
Inspired by a forthcoming major ESPN film series, this is an extraordinary oral history of basketball—its eye-opening untold history, its profound deeper meaning, its transformative influence on the world—as told through an unprecedented series of candid conversations with the game’s ultimate icons.
 
This is the greatest love story never told. It has passion and heartbreak, triumph and betrayal. It is deeply intimate yet crosses oceans, upends lives and changes nations. This is the true story of basketball.
 
It is the story of a Canadian invention that took over America, and the world. Of a supposed “white man’s sport” that became a way for people of color, women, and immigrants to claim a new place in society. Of a game that demands everything of those who love it, yet gives so much back in return.
 
To tell this story, acclaimed journalists Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores embarked on a groundbreaking mission to interview a staggering lineup of basketball trailblazers. For the first time hundreds of legends, from Kobe, Lebron and Steph Curry to Magic Johnson, Dr. J and Jerry West, spoke movingly about their greatest passion. Iconic coaches like Phil Jackson and Coach K opened up like never before. Those who shattered glass ceilings, from Bill Russell and Yao Ming to Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, explained what it really took to lay claim to their place in the game.
 
At once a definitive oral history and something far more revelatory and life affirming, Basketball: A Love Story is the defining untold oral history of how basketball came to be, and what it means to those who love it.
Różniło ich niemal wszystko – charakter, pochodzenie, sposób gry, a nawet kolor skóry. Łączyło jedno: perfekcjonizm i niepohamowana żądza zwyciężania. Moment, w którym po raz pierwszy stanęli naprzeciwko siebie, wyznaczył nową erę koszykówki. Ich wzajemna rywalizacja stała się symbolem lat 80., odmieniając zdruzgotany narkotykowymi skandalami wizerunek NBA.

Larry Bird kontra Earvin „Magic” Johnson, Celtics kontra Lakers, Wschód kontra Zachód, siła kontra finezja, Old School kontra Showtime… Kiedy rządziliśmy NBA to niezwykle osobisty portret najsłynniejszego duetu rywali w historii koszykówki. Od pierwszego finału w lidze uniwersyteckiej, przez zacięte boje o mistrzowskie pierścienie, po wsparcie w najtrudniejszych momentach.

Kiedy zaczynali, byli największymi wrogami. Skończyli jako przyjaciele na całe życie.

***

Byli różni jak Yin i Yang, dlatego tak perfekcyjnie do siebie pasowali. Bez Magica i Larry’ego nie byłoby współczesnej NBA. To oni kształtowali tożsamość ligi, to oni wznieśli grę na wyżyny. Kiedy rządziliśmy NBA to ucieleśnienie słowa rywalizacja. Czytając tę książkę, miałem ciarki na plecach.
Maciej Zieliński
Niewiele sportowych pojedynków dwóch wielkich gwiazd miało tak wielkie znaczenie dla dyscypliny. Rywalizacja, pasja, zaangażowanie, poświęcenie oraz, wydawałoby się, niemożliwa przyjaźń Larry’ego Birda i Earvina „Magica” Johnsona sprawiają, że od książki trudno się oderwać.
Michał Owczarek, Sport.pl

Kiedy jako 14-latek grałem swój pierwszy turniej w jakiejś wrocławskiej szkole, Magic i Larry rozgrywali najbardziej ekscytujące finały NBA w latach 80. Kiedy trzy lata później walczyłem o mistrzostwo Polski juniorów, cały świat znów oglądał ich rywalizację. Wtedy umacniali swoje rządy nad emocjami kibiców na całym świecie. Nawet jako reprezentant kraju ekscytowałem się jak dziecko pojedynkami tych dwóch zawodników. Historię Magica i Larry’ego trzeba poznać, bo bez nich koszykówka nie byłaby tym, czym jest dziś.
Adam Wójcik

Czytałem wiele biografii sportowców, ale takiej jeszcze nie. Magic Johnson i Larry Bird są bardzo dobrymi materiałami na książkę. Jest świetna!
Jakub Wojczyński, „Przegląd Sportowy”

 

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