The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul

Phil Jackson, Author Penguin Audiobooks $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-14-305705-5
Hoye, an established actor, is an unfortunate choice of narrator for this massive, detailed sports diary; prim, polished and melodramatic, his vocal stylings hardly match the audiobook's sweat-soaked subject. The audio chronicles Jackson's final season coaching the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2003-2004 season, which turned out to be heartbreaking for fans and players alike. Jackson's replay begins when Gary Payton and Karl Malone join the team; shortly thereafter, news emerges of the rape allegation against star player Kobe Bryant. This story, coupled with the ongoing tension between the tough Jackson and the egocentric Bryant, tinctures the entire season, even though the team makes it to the playoffs. Jackson dismisses most of his players as prima donnas, and few of them come across as very respectable--bickering, in-fighting and bruised egos are meticulously chronicled. The episodic structure of the book makes it ill-suited for audio; after a while, one heated locker-room argument starts to sound like another, and the decision to not abridge this audiobook begins to seem like a mistake. Jackson's recollections will no doubt delight basketball lovers, but those fans might be better off seeking out the hardcover, which they can skim at their leisure.
Reviewed on: 11/01/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-59420-035-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0835-8
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