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When the Game Was Ours
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When the Game Was Ours

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  6,446 ratings  ·  289 reviews
From the moment these two legendary players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. In Celtic green was Larry Bird, the hick from French Lick with laser-beam focus, relentless determination, and a deadly jump shot, a player who demanded excellence from everyone around him. Magic Johnson was Mr. Showtime, a magnetic pers ...more
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Published November 20th 2009 by Brilliance Audio (first published 2009)
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Mickey
Reading this book really took me back to my college days. I was a freshman at Indiana University the year Bird and Johnson faced each other in the NCAA finals, and had been an IU basketball fan for years. I remember seeing Larry Bird on the IU campus for some kind of sports dinner just before he started his freshman year there, and I always wondered what the story was behind his departure before the season started. The unofficial word around campus was that the campus was just "too big" for a sm ...more
Kevin
When the Game Was Ours is a very good novel/read which gives us an in depth look into the legendary rivalry of two basketball greats Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The book spans from the moment the two first met at the NCAA championship game, to their pro days, and even their post playing days. The two started out as fierce rivals and ultimately wound up becoming the best of friends. Throughout it all they always respected each other and used what the other did as motivation in order to perfect ...more
Stefan Goles
This book describes the rivalry between the Los Angelos Lakers and the Boston Celtics during the 1980's, and more specifically the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The book describes how both players got to the NBA, and then speaks on how dominant they were and how they always played agains each other in the NBA finals, which sparked their rivalry. The book also describes their relationship off of the court and how they became very good friends of off the court. I would reccomend th ...more
Rosenkavalier
PAAAANDEMONIO AL GREAT WESTERN FORUM!!!

Se per voi la parola "pandemonio" può essere pronunciata solo con l'accento di Chattanooga, Tennessee, leggete questo libro.

Se avete passato le domeniche mattina guardando "Il grande golf con Mario Camicia" per non rischiare di perdere l'inizio della partita, leggete questo libro.

Se, quelle stesse domeniche mattina, alla fine della partita correvate all'oratorio nonostante fosse ora di pranzo per provare la vostra versione (oratoriale) del Junior Junior Sk
...more
Samantha
Very good book that tells both sides of pivotial events in Magic Johnson and Larry Bird's careers. It starts out when both are in high school and then moves to college when they first started hearing about the other. I loved the stories about their teammates and what they were thinking about their rivalry then later their friendship. Their interactions with Jordan during the Olympic Dream Team period was funny. I really enjoyed the inside thoughts from Larry Bird concerning Magic revealing that ...more
Gus Sanchez
This book, an oral history of the game Bird and Magic shared together, in their own words, is a fascinating look down memory lane, when Bird and Magic reinvigorated the NBA and sowed the seeds for its' tremendous global growth. We get a look not just at their rivalry but their unexpected friendship.

Growing up, as an aspiring baller, Magic and Larry were the 2 basketball players I emulated; I wanted Magic's no-look pass and Larry's long-range bombing, along with their uncanny court sense, the ab
...more
AJ
this book is about magic johnson and Larry bird and their friendship on and off the court. on the court they were rivals but off the court they were the best of friends my favorite character has to be magic johnson even though Larry Bird is a very good player Magic was a point guard and i play point guard. Magic johnson is the best point guard to ever play the game of basketball he could do anything, his passing was the best of all. my favorite part of the book is when they talk about how they p ...more
Dave
Granted the NBA isnt that popular in Kansas. As a sports fan we are the poorer for it. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Magic Johnson/LArry Bird rivalry. The last 1/3 of the book was new ground for me.
Reading how their relationship grew from a heated rivalry to a grudging respect, into a close friendship between the 2 men who epitomized basketball from the late 70's as college rivals thru the 80's as the two best players of the decade. I enjoyed the parts of the book that
...more
David
When the Game Was Ours is a very enjoyable read which has duel chronicles of both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson from their young playing days, college, pros, and post careers. The two went from fierce rivals to friends over the course of their careers but through it all, they always respected the other and used what the other did as motivation.

My only critique of the book was a minor one by the author late in the book. The author mentions that Magic and Michael Jackson found themselves at the sam
...more
Kameron Spencer
Dave SheininBy Dave Sheinin
Sunday, December 13, 2009
WHEN THE GAME WAS OURS
By Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, with Jackie MacMullan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

For sports fans who came of age in the 1980s, nothing in the known universe was as important as Bird vs. Magic. In a debate -- "Who's better, Bird or Magic?" -- you would have staked your life on your answer. When you played hoops alone and fantasized about the final seconds ticking down, you were either one or the other. And when Lar
...more
Hunter Cohen
I thought the book was amazing, They really went into depth with explicit details and described everything from their childhood up until their decision of retiring in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The book is about Larry Bird and MAgic Johnson's amazing friendship that lasts their entire career. Although they had some ups and downs they still remain friends after retiring from the NBA.

I liked the book because of all of the great details that were provided. I would recommend this
...more
Anthony Harris
What I liked about the book was that it was based off of my favorite point guard of all-time (Magic Johnson), and a great, a legend, Larry Legend (Larry Bird). I like the book because it talks about how Magic Johnson and Larry Bird used to go at it on the court all the time, and the competitive spirit they had since they played against each other in the college basketball championship game.

I love the book it is one of my favorite book ever, so there is nothing I don't like about it.

This book is
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John
It's nice to remember the great Celtics/Lakers basketball rivalry of the 80s with Larry and Magic! They really did bring the game back! The book gives some nice insights into both Larry and Magic's characters -- the desire and hard work it took to get them to the pinnacle of their games. Even though both men have completely different styles it was interesting to learn how they came to be friends. The book takes you all the way from their original rivalry at Indiana State and Michigan State to th ...more
Samantha
The book was very exciting to read and I could tell the author loves the sport of basketball and the story behind the book, as well as Magic and Birds rivalry and friendship. Throughout the story I loved the parts where it seemed to be in the game it kind of put me on the edge of my seat, because I really like basketball but never got much more into it past UofL basketball. My reasons behind giving the book three stars are that I did not know all the players, teams and just full on basketball th ...more
Zach
This book was unbelievable. It really described a time when the NBA was just amazing to watch because of these two men. They were two of the greatest players in the NBA and they made each other better because they wanted to beat each other for the championship. This was a time when the game was played the right way. And this book just captures the time and the people so well. I don't think there will ever be another time like that in the NBA again. If you are nostalgic for the best times of the ...more
Pete

When the Game was Ours (2009) by Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson and Jackie MacMullan is a book that is a biography of Bird and Magic, an account of their rivalry and an account of how they changed the NBA into the very successful global phenomenon it is today.
Bird and Magic were in college at the same time and played a great college final in 1979 and then went on to be drafted by the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers respectively. When they joined the NBA the NBA was going through tough times due to
...more
Jim Fromm
I loved this book.

The relationship between Bird and Johnson defined professional basketball for fans my age. This book does a great job filling in the interesting and often humorous details. I idolized both of these players. After reading the background information and beginning to understand the pressure they endured I appreciate them even more. That they are now close friends confirms that life often is better than fiction. I loved it and shared it with my son and grandson.
RB Love
A little repetitive maybe. Repetitively great! Tons of anecdotes and going overs of the exploits of Bird and Magic. Makes you realize how significant they were and what a renaissance that was for basketball in general and the nba particularly.
One section was so significant, like an allegory beyond the book itself, about the differences in acumen between Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I feel obliged to re-type it here;
"Thank God Kareem was my teammate, because I used to cringe at the way he trea
...more
Tim
A reasonably insightful read into the life and times of the two basketball players that I most loved to love (Magic) and hate (Bird) when I was growing up. It was a great walk down memory lane, with some new insights. I wouldn't characterize it as anything resembling deep investigative reporting by MacMullan, but I suppose that wasn't the point. If I had to pick another nit, there were several times where I thought some of the background information (pop culture, etc.) just didn't quite measure ...more
William Johnson
This review was reprinted from my website Secure Immaturity. Please check out the site and comment on this review and others.

When I first started reading When the Game Was Ours, by Earvin Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, I thought it was a bit silly. The Haiti earthquakes just happened and I kind of felt a ‘blood and guts’ story of hardwood glory was a bit excessive. And the fact that I was reading it in the comfort of my intact house with readily available drinking water made me feel even worse fo
...more
Resonance
Great, enjoyable read that takes me back to the glory days of the Bird vs. Magic rivalry. Some great anecdotes that I had never heard before. Nothing really earthshaking, although the insights into each man's psyche were pretty interesting. It's fun to see how each guy drove the other to be a better ballplayer.

The book touches on a few issues -- Magic's HIV, the whole debate about Bird being seen as great because he was white, the way the game has changed since those days -- that are pretty con
...more
Neil
I should know better than to read sports books written (or even as in this case, "contributed to") by the athletes themselves. That's especially true when the athletes in question were major stars of the game. This is an OK book about the NBA that I followed when I was a young man, the period in life when I actually followed the game closely, but ultimately I couldn't get past the fact that it seems self-aggrandizing.

Bird and Johnson are relatively forthcoming about whom and what they liked and
...more
Sher
I was really disappointed in this book. I don't know what I was expecting, but it didn't deliver for me. I did enjoy the first half which was about how they got their start, and many of the things that went on, but really, by the end of the book I was so sick of reading the phrase, "Magic and Larry" or "Larry and Magic". Really, let's use a modicum of creativity and originality. I started to wonder if the whole thing was made up.

I really liked both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson when they were pl
...more
Marc Baldwin
If you watch the NBA today you will inevitably hear references to the great Celtics vs. Lakers battles of the 80s: the golden years of basketball. It was a rivalry that is unmatched in today's NBA, and probably never will be matched again due to the high rate of player trades and moves. A large majority of NBA teams look completely different from year to year.

I enjoyed the book because it is an insider's view of those great finals battles of the 80s. The LA/Boston rivalry was a unique one, and n
...more
Dan Walker
Unfortunately I only caught the tail end of the Magic-Bird era, so it was great to hear what really happened.



The author has a very interesting style of starting with the ending before going back to the beginning and working back to the ending again. For example, starting with the Celtics winning the title one year and then going back to the beginning of the season and reviewing how both Larry and Magic got to the title game.



Equally interesting was hearing about the fierce, competitive drive that
...more
Paul Mcalexander
I would recommend the book “When the Game Was Ours” to teenagers and older. The book talks about Larry Bird’s and Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s life as a kid and in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They helped the NBA more then the NBA helped them.
Magic Johnson grew up in Everet Michigan, where he won the basketball state tournament at Everet High School. Larry Bird grew up in Springs Valley Indiana, where he also won the state basketball tournament at Springs Valley High School. They bot
...more
Tony Whittum
My freshman year at Michigan State University in 1978/1979 I witnessed, via TV, one of the greatest sports spectacles, even if at the time, I didn't know it!

After MSU and Magic Johnson defeated Indiana State and Larry Bird to win the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1979 I also witnessed a chaos of celebration only a college student could appreciate: a long drunken procession of students and Spartan fans weaving down Grand River Avenue amid small bonfires made from the stools from various bars an
...more
Seth
Dec 14, 2009 Seth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Basketball fans, Bostonians, Californians
Recommended to Seth by: Amazon Vine
Despite my Boston fandom, When The Game Was Ours is the best book about basketball I've ever read. I was too young to truly appreciate the play of the man often referred to as Larry Legend, but I've been well aware of his influence on the sport, not to mention the Celtics pride he exemplified. In his time, Bird was the Celtics. Magic Johnson was the Lakers, and this book shows just how alike - yet different - they were.

An excess of stats and game notes can be dragging, but When The Game Was Ours
...more
Brandon
Fascinating look at the intertwined careers of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, told by the men who lived it... with Jackie Mac, of course. Imagine a conversation between Johnson, Bird, Jordan, Barkley, and Ewing - all members of the Dream Team - about the greatest of all time. A conversation involving some of the all time greats who are always in that conversation, particularly the book's two subjects and Michael Jordan, is recreated in this book, and it's captivating stuff. The story behind the D ...more
Matt
Hook: How would it feel to look into the life of a superstar of the game of basketball?

Review: Jackie MacMullan’s "When the Game was Ours" is the story of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird. The story starts with Bird’s and Johnson’s appearance at the April 1978 World Invitational Tournament in Kentucky, an electrifying few seconds in which the two future superstars and Hall of Famers hit each other with a series of gorgeous passes before Johnson laid it in. The history then takes the two pla
...more
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