Theta Sigma's Reviews > When the Game Was Ours

When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird
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May 31, 12

Read from May 21 to 31, 2012

Having been an armchair basketball fan, predominantly in the late eighties up to the mid-to-late nineties whenever I was able to watch it, there were three players that fascinated me - Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

This book is a fascinating biography written by Bird and Johnson alongside Jackie MacMullan, sports journalist and regular contributor to the ESPN programme "Around The Horn".

It follows Larry and Magic's parallel careers from their first meeting in the World Invitational Tournament as team-mates, through the famous NCAA finals game between Bird's Indiana State Sycamores team and Johnson's Michigan State Spartans, and through a rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers with the two franchise players in central casting.

I have seen video documentaries with Larry and Magic in them and I will tell you now that those documentaries scratch the surface in the portrayal of their relationship. You get a deep sense of Bird being the quiet man who simply wanted to play for the love of the game whilst Magic, who also played for the love of the game, also was a man who courted the Hollywood lifestyle.

You also get to the guts of the rivalry which led to a period of bitterness, bordering on emnity, due to Bird and Johnson's intense work ethic to be the best player that they could be, not only for themselves but for their respective franchises, which later gave way to a mutual respect and a friendship between the two.

It also speaks of the changing landscape of the NBA - from a sports product in decline in the late 1970's, through the revitalisation that Larry and Magic injected into it, through the handing over of the torch to Michael Jordan - most significantly at the Barcelona Olympics and the coming of the "new guard", specifically the new Lakers and Celtics teams that have contested for NBA titles.

I've read a few sporting biogs and this is the most intense and personal one that I've read.

If you're a Lakers or Celtics fan and you haven't read this book, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

If you're a basketball fan in general or a general sports fan, you may also gain something from this as it's a well written depiction on the nature of sporting rivalry.
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