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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Sweetness 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 their famed “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.

Best-selling sportswriter Jeff Pearlman draws from almost 300 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.

©2014 Jeff Pearlman (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Showtime

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Offended at the style used to voice black characters.

Anytime Hillgartner voices Magic, Worthy or any other black individual he goes into a slow drawl and clipping the words and putting on exaggerated inflections.
I found it a annoying and somewhat racist and stereotypical. The story is great. All he need do is read the quotes with normal emotions and tone like he does for the white characters.

2 people found this helpful

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About as good as you can hope for

Pearlman does a pretty darn good job of getting out of the way, not editorializing and letting the players and coaches tell the story. Some excellent detail in the book, including a potential trade Magic Johnson wanted for Mark Agguirre and Roy Tarpley that would have been the biggest disaster possible.

Vocal performance is fantastic. Rarely did it distract from the stories and even when Malcom Hillgartner tried to change inflections for different speakers, normally really distracting and/or silly, it was at most bemusing. Solid read though by him.

As with most books written about sports in the present but detailing the past, the weakest parts are when Pearlman attempts to put politics/race, et al of 1980-89 into 2010s lense. But this is refreshingly small and more an annoyance than a detriment to the overall book.

Great commentary on the relationship between a great coach and his great players breaking down over time, and as much as the players grew to hate Reilly, this is a successful relationship.

Overall, probably 90-95% grade, solid A grade, high recommend even for Laker fans this won't seem like complete member-berry rehash. As there are a lot of details and stories that I hadn't heard. If you're under 40, high high recommend because most of it will be new information.

2 people found this helpful

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Malcolm is the king of narrators.

Jeff is a truly gifted story teller. like all of his other books a must buy cause you will go back to it time and time again.

2 people found this helpful

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Better than the show

For those of you who have come here because of “Winning Time”, let me assure you- this is superior.

The testimony from the players is far more visceral and colored- you can believe that Jerry West said it. I love the 2-dimensional painting of each of the pieces of showtime, everyone becomes a hero or a villain based on the moment.

This is how authenticity is reached, these are people; flawed, mistake prone, and comprised of light and dark. The “Winning Time” is a wonderful show, exciting and Hollywood… but Showtime, is that behind the scenes documentary that peaks back a time that will never come again.

It’s also highly enjoyable to see how a live action property will always take liberties- even if the truth is just as sensational. Take a listen, 10 minutes and you won’t be able to turn it off.

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The TV Show made do it

This was an amazing story, one in which every single basketball fan should listen to and enjoy. Winning is the goal of every person, but also the killer of unbalanced men. It gave me insight into Kareem's lack of reverence in the NBA. Riley's persona in Miami, and into the magnificent of Magic Johmson. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

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Showtime

Great listen. I got so much inside information about the Lakers. Great behind the scenes insight. I enjoyed the 18 hours. The attempts at Afro American dialects my the narrator is a little offensive. Nevertheless I really like this.

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Good for Sports People, Fine for Non-Sports People

A compelling story presented capably and does a good job to avoid overstaying its welcome.

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Awesome

A great listen and great insights into a historic team. A lot of anecdotes re: both great players and bench players

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Another Pearlman hit!

Great book. Really good narration. It’s also fun to listen to this while the Winning Time show is coming out. It adds a little more depth to the show.

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Fantastic history

I was a middle schooler and high schooler during the Showtime days of the Lakers. As an adult it’s awesome to be able to learn more about how the Lakers got to where they were, for better or worse. Great story, excellent performance by the narrator .