Jake's Reviews > Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever

Dream Team by Jack McCallum
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's review
Jul 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: sports-books
Read in July, 2012

A really well done by the only writer who could do it. McCallum was granted unprecedented access to the great stars to get their perspective, including the notoriously difficult interviewees Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. He is also great at giving each star fair and equal face time (I enjoyed that Karl Malone was such a contrarian), while still acknowledging the fact that the Bird-Magic-MJ troika loomed over everyone. The Chuck Daly stuff, on the coach of whom I knew so little about, was great. And McCallum might have the only oral history of what has been considered by many to be the greatest game ever played (a scrimmage in Monte Carlo before the Dream Team departed for Spain). He also acknowledges the proverbial elephant in the room: John Stockton being picked over Isiah Thomas for the Dream Team. The general consensus is that Michael Jordan didn't want Thomas on the team and thus it didn't happen. And Daly and Magic, supposedly two of his closest compatriots, didn't lobby for him either. Race might have played a factor to be sure and McCallum doesn't run from this.

You might be disappointed if you expect to learn anything shocking here, unless you consider a bunch of people scared to contract HIV from Magic Johnson shocking. There are no amazing, behind-the-scenes revelations that'll knock you off your seat. The book isn't exactly vanilla but it's a couple steps away from a puff piece. For instance, McCallum has to qualify every minute controversial stance he takes with a bunch of evidence and a "that's just my opinion"-line. Hey Jack? I don't need you to feel frightened in telling me that Charles Barkley was a bleephole for elbowing that Angolan player. Pretty sure most people would agree.

At any rate, it's an excellent book that any basketball, or really sports fan, should purchase and devour immediately.
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