The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul

Phil Jackson, Author, Michael Arkush, With Penguin Press $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59420-035-9
Jackson's chronicle of his final season as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers moves as crisply as a well-executed fast break. Under his direction, the Lakers won three NBA titles, but failed to reach the championship round in 2003. Determined to make another run at the finals in the 2003-2004 season, the Lakers added Hall of Fame players Karl Malone and Gary Payton to a team that already featured superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. But instead of producing another ring, the Lakers were crushed in the finals by the Detroit Pistons. That the Lakers even reached the last round of the playoffs was a feat given the turmoil that surrounded the team (involving the animosity between Shaq and Bryant, and Bryant's rape charge). Jackson briefly critiques the Lakers' biggest games of the regular season and analyzes each playoff performance, providing fresh insight without boring readers with play-by-play accounts. He peppers the narrative with pungent observations of his stars--and it's no surprise that he saves his sharpest criticisms for Bryant. While Shaq could be difficult to deal with, Jackson contends, he was ultimately a team player. And although Shaq and Bryant reached a truce in the season's final months, Jackson sees Bryant as the epitome of today's selfish player, a ""callous gun for hire.""
Reviewed on: 10/01/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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FORMATS
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0835-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-305705-5
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