Synopses & Reviews
Theand#160;New York Timesand#160;bestselling author ofand#160;Sweetnessand#160;delivers the first all-encompassing account of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of professional sportsand#8217; most-revered
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 and#147;Magicand#8221; Johnson as the number-one overall pick of the 1979 draft, the Lakers played basketball with gusto and pizzazz, unleashing their famed and#147;Showtimeand#8221; run-and-gun style on a league unprepared for their speed and ferocityand#151;and became the most captivating show in sports and, arguably, in all-around American entertainment. The Lakersand#8217; 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. Hollywoodand#8217;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 Lakersand#8217; epic Showtime era. A dazzling account of one of Americaand#8217;s greatest sports sagas,and#160;Showtimeand#160;is packed with indelible characters, vicious rivalries, and jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes stories of the playersand#8217; decadent Hollywood lifestyles.and#160; From the Showtime eraand#8217;s remarkable rise to its tragic endand#151;marked by Magic Johnsonand#8217;s 1991 announcement that he had contracted HIVand#151;Showtimeand#160;is a gripping narrative of sports, celebrity, and 1980s-style excess.
"Pearlman (Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton) returns to his niche: Chronicling the exploits of pro sports' bad boy the 1986 New York Mets, the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s and now the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, who won five NBA championships between 1980 and 1988 with an All-Star roster that personified the decade's egotism and excess. Beginning with the drafting of 19-year-old Earvin 'Magic' Johnson as the NBA's first overall pick in 1979 (punctuated by an awkward first lunch Johnson shared with the Lakers' playboy owner Jerry Buss), Pearlman spins a wild and wildly entertaining tale that leaves dirt on practically every man central to the Lakers dynasty, and even some who weren't. Enigmatic and aloof Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stood seven-foot-two but possessed a short emotional fuse; Spencer Haywood was dismissed from the team for excessive cocaine use but wasn't the only Laker snorting; and Johnson dictated personnel moves and hosted extravagant, 'orgasmic' sex parties. The nickname 'Showtime' described the Lakers' relentless and unparalleled freewheeling run-and-gun offense, as well as the entire era itself; the book it inspired is just as enticing full of fast breaks, dramatic intensity, and celebrity sightings. Color photos. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“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 hagio
graphy -- 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.” –ESPN.com, 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
"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's 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. " – Bob Kravitz, 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." -- 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
Praise for Jeff Pearlmans Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton
“Exceptional . . . a fascinating read about a fascinating man.”
—Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
“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.”
—The Indianapolis Star
“Pearlman . . . [is] a skilled biographer.”
—The New York Times
Praise for Jeff Pearlmanand#8217;s Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton
and#8220;Exceptional and#160;. . . a fascinating read about a fascinating man.and#8221;
and#8212;Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
and#8220;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#8221;
and#8212;The Indianapolis Star
and#8220;Pearlman . . . [is] a skilled biographer.and#8221;
and#8212;The New York Times
Praise for Showtime
and#8220;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.and#8221;
and#8212;Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports NBA columnist and author of the The Miracle of St. Anthonyand#160;
and#8220;An era that redefined the game has found a storyteller more than up to the task. By any measure, Showtime is magic.and#8221;
and#8212;Mark Frost, author of The Greatest Game Every Played
and#8220;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 and#8211; 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.and#8221;
and#8212;Armen Keteyian, 60 Minutes Sports
and#8220;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 and#8230; a whole lot of L.A. living.and#8221;
and#8212;Jack McCallum, author ofand#160;New York Timesand#160;best-sellerand#160;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."
and#8212;Chris Ballard, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
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.and#8221;
and#8212;Jeremy Schaap, ESPN commentator, New York Times best-selling author of Cinderella Man and Triumph and#160;
"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."
and#8212;Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life
Praise 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."
and#8212;ESPN.com, "The Sporting Life"
The first definitive biography of Chicago Bears superstar Walter Payton.
At five feet ten inches tall, running back Walter Peyton was not the largest player in the NFL, but he developed a larger-than-life reputation for his strength, speed, and grit. Nicknamed "Sweetness" during his college football days, he became the NFL's all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards, capturing the hearts of fans in his adopted Chicago.
Crafted from interviews with more than 700 sources, acclaimed sportswriter Jeff Pearlman has produced the first definitive biography of Payton. Sweetness at last brings fans a detailed, scrupulously researched, all-encompassing account of the legend's rise to greatness. From Payton's childhood in segregated Mississippi, where he ended a racial war by becoming the star of his integrated high school's football team, to his college years and his twelve-year NFL career, Sweetness brims with stories of all-American heroism, and covers Payton's life off the field as well. Set against the backdrop of the tragic illness that cut his life short at just forty- six years of age, this is a stirring tribute to a singular icon and the lasting legacy he made.
About the Author
is aand#160;New York Timesand#160;
bestselling author and sports writer. He has worked as a columnist for SI.com and ESPN.com, a senior writer forand#160;Sports Illustrated
, a features writer forand#160;Newsday
, and a contributor toand#160;The Wall Street Journaland#160;
and CNN.com. He lives in New York.