While the book is centered on the 1979-1980 Trail Blazers team the book encompasses so much more. The catalyst for much of the book is the team's heart and soul, Bill Walton, signing with the San Diego Clippers just prior to the season. This is two years removed from Portland winning the NBA championship. He leaves amongst much angst on both sides. Bill Walton was maybe the best player in the league when healthy but health was something he would never have much luck with. But he isn't the what the book is about but he is a key figure in it.
Coach Jack Ramsey and the rest of the team is what everything revolves around. The team is in flux as new players come in from San Diego as compensation for the Walton signing. Some players, key components in earlier years, are now older and injures are taking their toll. Young players compete for minutes and their NBA life. The owner of the team, the general manager, scouts and even the doctors and trainers also play key rolls in the book. Halberstam also weaves other key players from the NBA into the book.
|Lionel Hollins, Maurice Lucas, Jack Ramsey, |
Dave Twardzik and Bill Walton
Again Halberstam does a great job weaving the back story of each player into how they are not just a player but a person. You really get to know each player and feel more connected whether reading about rookie Abdul Jaleeni, veteran Maurice Lucas or phenom Billy Ray Bates. He does a great job of not taking sides allowing you to make your own decisions on each individual. For me they all came off as likable people who are just different in their own right. None were bad or wrong. They were just individuals and their stories were all great ones that really allowed me to connect with each.
|Kermit Washington, Larry Steele|
Basketball fans should read this book. It is as good as advertised. While it is Trail Blazer centric it touches on so much more and is just so well written it deserves the time.