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Buy for $19.95
Paul Westhead was teaching high school in his native Philadelphia when he was named La Salle University’s men’s basketball coach in 1970. By 1980 he was a Los Angeles Lakers assistant, soon to be hired as head coach, winning an NBA title with Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and rookie guard Magic Johnson. After compiling a 112-50 record, he was fired in November 1981. After a short stay as coach of the Chicago Bulls, Westhead reemerged in the mid-eighties as a coach at Loyola Marymount in California, where he designed his highly unusual signature run-and-gun offense that came to be known as “the system”.
The Speed Game offers a vibrant account of how Westhead helped develop a style of basketball that not only won at the highest levels but went on to influence basketball as it’s played today. Known for implementing an up-tempo, quick-possession, high-octane offense, Westhead is the only coach to have won championships in both the NBA and WNBA.
Westhead speaks candidly here about the feathers he ruffled and about his own shortcomings as he takes readers from Philadelphia’s West Catholic High, where he couldn’t make varsity, to the birth of the Showtime Lakers and to the powerhouse he built nearly ten years later at Loyola, where his team set records likely never to be approached.
The book is published by University of Nebraska Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.
“His accounts of his time with the NBA will be rewarding for hoop fans and all of us book worms.” (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
"It may be a surprise to readers to learn how graceful and interesting a writer he is...." (Wall Street Journal)
"His memoir is both proud and self-effacing, candid and evasive, an artful nod to Shakespearean comedy and tragedy." (New York Journal of Books)