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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Sweetness delivers the first all-encompassing account of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of professional sports’ most-revered - and dominant - dynasties.

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 “Magic” Johnson as the number-one overall pick of the 1979 draft, the Lakers played basketball with gusto and pizzazz, unleashing their famed “Showtime” run-and-gun style on a league unprepared for their speed and ferocity - and became the most captivating show in sports and, arguably, in all-around American entertainment. The Lakers’ 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. Hollywood’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.

Best-selling sportswriter Jeff Pearlman draws from almost 300 interviews to take the first full measure of the Lakers’ epic Showtime era. A dazzling account of one of America’s greatest sports sagas, Showtime is packed with indelible characters, vicious rivalries, and jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes stories of the players’ decadent Hollywood lifestyles. From the Showtime era’s remarkable rise to its tragic end - marked by Magic Johnson’s 1991 announcement that he had contracted HIV - Showtime is a gripping narrative of sports, celebrity, and 1980s-style excess.

©2014 Jeff Pearlman (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Showtime

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Great book

I always enjoy behind the scenes stories about sports figures and teams. This book was an all encompassing look at the 80’s Lakers team, it’s members, and their personal tales.
Would highly recommend to any basketball fan. It’s also a great accompaniment to the latest Winning Time program on HBO

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-01-15

Offended at the style used to voice black characters.

Anytime Hillgartner voices Magic, Worthy or any other black individual he goes into a slow drawl and clipping the words and putting on exaggerated inflections.
I found it a annoying and somewhat racist and stereotypical. The story is great. All he need do is read the quotes with normal emotions and tone like he does for the white characters.

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  • ERIC SANDAGE
  • 2019-08-27

About as good as you can hope for

Pearlman does a pretty darn good job of getting out of the way, not editorializing and letting the players and coaches tell the story. Some excellent detail in the book, including a potential trade Magic Johnson wanted for Mark Agguirre and Roy Tarpley that would have been the biggest disaster possible.

Vocal performance is fantastic. Rarely did it distract from the stories and even when Malcom Hillgartner tried to change inflections for different speakers, normally really distracting and/or silly, it was at most bemusing. Solid read though by him.

As with most books written about sports in the present but detailing the past, the weakest parts are when Pearlman attempts to put politics/race, et al of 1980-89 into 2010s lense. But this is refreshingly small and more an annoyance than a detriment to the overall book.

Great commentary on the relationship between a great coach and his great players breaking down over time, and as much as the players grew to hate Reilly, this is a successful relationship.

Overall, probably 90-95% grade, solid A grade, high recommend even for Laker fans this won't seem like complete member-berry rehash. As there are a lot of details and stories that I hadn't heard. If you're under 40, high high recommend because most of it will be new information.

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  • Dave
  • 2019-08-18

Malcolm is the king of narrators.

Jeff is a truly gifted story teller. like all of his other books a must buy cause you will go back to it time and time again.

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  • Jeff Goalder
  • 2022-06-10

Such a great refresh course in Laker history

I love this listen and I listen to it every couple of years just to refresh my memory on Laker history.

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  • Tony DiBiasio
  • 2022-06-08

Entertaining

This is Pearlman's homage to Magic, Jerry Buss, and Pat Riley. He Did not need to dis Kareem to elevate Magic. It came across as petulant and petty. The narrator's attempts at Black pathos for many characters were more distraction than good theatre. Otherwise, this was an entertaining sports story.

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  • Mark Thomas
  • 2022-05-29

A Glorious book about a glorious time 80s Lakers

If you are a Lakers fan this book is a must read. You may have seen every game or been there like I was, we had season tickets from 82 - 89. I learned so much from this book its a great behind the scenes look at how the Lakers 80's Basketball Dynasty was created.

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  • Jeff
  • 2022-05-26

Rambling stats with personal interest stories

Never quite feels cohesive.. Just a lot of miscellaneous events and then deciding to end it with the retirement of Magic Johnson. Basically chopping a random chunk of time the eighties to the nineties. There are a few good personal interest stories in there but it just felt like it bounced all over the place. It does match up a little bit with the HBO show but the HBO show added a lot more superfluous drama which you're not gonna find in this book.

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  • AD Cramer
  • 2022-05-22

Best sports book I have ever read

This book succeeds because it captures one of the greatest sports dynasties at every level. As a team, as stars, as a cultural phenomenon and as human beings. I felt like I had a total understanding of both who they were and what they meant to the world. The narrative itself is extremely compelling and I could not put this one down, even when I knew what would happen. The behind the scenes details and character insights elevated a story I already knew and loved into something phenomenal.

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  • Tony Defendis
  • 2022-05-12

Better than the show

For those of you who have come here because of “Winning Time”, let me assure you- this is superior.

The testimony from the players is far more visceral and colored- you can believe that Jerry West said it. I love the 2-dimensional painting of each of the pieces of showtime, everyone becomes a hero or a villain based on the moment.

This is how authenticity is reached, these are people; flawed, mistake prone, and comprised of light and dark. The “Winning Time” is a wonderful show, exciting and Hollywood… but Showtime, is that behind the scenes documentary that peaks back a time that will never come again.

It’s also highly enjoyable to see how a live action property will always take liberties- even if the truth is just as sensational. Take a listen, 10 minutes and you won’t be able to turn it off.

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  • Christopher Lester
  • 2022-05-08

The TV Show made do it

This was an amazing story, one in which every single basketball fan should listen to and enjoy. Winning is the goal of every person, but also the killer of unbalanced men. It gave me insight into Kareem's lack of reverence in the NBA. Riley's persona in Miami, and into the magnificent of Magic Johmson. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾