Monday, 22nd July 2019

Retro Reviews: When the Game Was Ours

Posted on 05. Jul, 2018 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

Retro Reviews: When the Game Was Ours

Reading this book has the same effect as stepping in to a time machine and setting the dial for any year in the 1980’s. Sure, there is some discussion of 1979, the early nineties, and a few events in this century, but for the most part, When the Game Was Ours is a beautifully written sports chronicle anchored in one of the greatest eras in NBA history. There is a beginning and an end to the story of Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird, but it is the middle of the journey that is the highlight of this collaboration written by Johnson, Bird, and sports journalist (as well as Around the Horn alumni) Jackie MacMullan.

The book is easy to follow and alternates between Magic and Bird’s anecdotes. It is a nice treat for sports fans to hear directly from both men about some of the biggest moments in NBA history. Many famous and not so famous names pop up throughout the voyage. Both Magic and Larry are straight forward and pull no punches. This is not one of those “dirt” books however. Besides some disturbing comments Magic makes about Isiah Thomas during the time of his HIV announcement, When the Game Was Ours is relatively drama free.

The impact of Magic and Bird’s rivalry on the struggling NBA in the early 80’s is well documented in this book. Former league commissioner David Stern’s role in turning the NBA’s fortunes around is discussed many times as well. Sports fans will have a new respect for Stern after reading this tale. His intelligence and creativity helped bring the NBA brand back in to the mainstream and his attempts to globalize the league are truly groundbreaking in sports.

There is also talk about Michael Jordan in this book though not as much as one might expect. This should not be too surprising however as this is not his book. When the Game Was Ours is based solely on events experienced mutually between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Those events usually involved the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, though this book is not exclusive to that storied rivalry. You will bump in to many familiar names and happenings from the last thirty years as you read and everything and everyone will always somehow connect back to Magic and Bird. That is the beauty of this book and this story. Magic and Bird’s fierce rivalry and eventual friendship transcended basketball and had an impact on many aspects of social life.

When the Game Was Ours is highly recommended for both casual and avid readers. You do not have to be a sports fan to appreciate the story that is being told. There is nothing complex or cryptic about Jackie MacMullan’s writing style. She tells a famous tale in simple fashion. There is an accurate account of events and her descriptions often conjured up some of my favorite NBA memories that I had completely forgotten about. Many direct quotes from NBA greats are included as well which is an added bonus. It was nice to get insight from people besides Johnson and Bird when certain topics were being discussed. For 324 pages you will be transported to a time when the game truly belonged to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Some of the highlights of your trip will include:

*1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State and Michigan State

*1984 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers

*1985 “Choose Your Weapon” Converse commercial where the Magic/Bird friendship begins

*1987 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers

*1992 NBA All Star Game in Orlando, Florida where Magic comes back for the first time after announcing he is HIV positive

*1992 Dream Team going for Olympic Gold in Barcelona, Spain

NBA Jam Session Scores With Fans

Posted on 20. Feb, 2011 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NBA

NBA Jam Session Scores With Fans

David Stern’s well oiled basketball machine rolled in to Downtown Los Angeles this weekend for the annual NBA All Star game. The game brings with it three days of festivities and goodies for fans of all ages. FreeSportsMag was on hand this Saturday getting a taste of the All Star life at NBA Jam Session, a fan festival of sorts that runs from Friday to Monday during the All Star break.

Jam Session took place next to Staples at the enormous Los Angeles Convention Center. The masses were out in full force and a pleasant, playful vibe was in the air. Fans were made to feel special upon entrance in to the event getting to walk down a hardwood path surrounded by volunteers smacking thunder sticks and giant murals of NBA stars hanging on the walls.

Fans of hoop could spend the entire day at Jam Session without getting bored. Many activities and exhibits filled the convention center with the more popular attractions having the longer lines. Photo opportunities were plenty and there seemed to be an emphasis on hands-on interaction. Fans had a chance to take pictures with championship trophies and could even insert themselves in to the L.A. team photo.

Most youngsters enjoyed basketball challenges that were setup throughout the event. It was fun watching kids shoot, dribble, and have a good time. It was even better to watch grown adults try to slam dunk on eight foot rims. More avid fans of the game enjoyed historical exhibits and memorabilia showcases. Team USA had a booth and the Basketball Hall of Fame displayed some items that struck a nostalgic chord with many fans.

A mix of NBA legends and current players were sprinkled through the event at various times during the day. Dwayne Wade made an appearance at the T-Mobile booth while Robert Horry helped coach a youth team from China that was playing in an exhibition. Norm Nixon signed free autographs and every once and a while an official team mascot could be spotted stirring up some benign mayhem.

The NBA got it right with the Jam Session event. Catch it if you can when the All Star game rolls through your town.


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