When the Game Was Ours and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

When the Game Was Ours Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 4, 2009


See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Bargain Price, November 4, 2009
$9.97 $2.36

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (November 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547225474
  • ASIN: B004NSVFC2
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Bill Walton Reviews When the Game Was Ours

Bill Walton played in the NBA for 13 years, and in 1996, was named one of the top 50 players in NBA history. He's been an analyst for CBS Sports and NBC Sports, and since 2002, he's been a game analyst for ESPN NBA telecasts. Read his guest review of When the Game Was Ours:

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are transcendent, iconic and timeless standard bearers of excellence who changed "The Game" forever, always bringing out the best in each other and never failing to put a smile on all our faces.

I was one of the lucky ones. I had the incredible good fortune to have witnessed firsthand the Bird/Magic rivalry. It was an intense and constant thing for us all. But even I didn't realize how powerful their connection was until I read When the Game Was Ours, a riveting and page-turning masterpiece that could only be written with the help of someone like Jackie MacMullan, who was there every step of the way and who sensed there was a whole lot more to their story than what happened on the court or got played over and over again on the highlight reels. In this book, Larry and Magic tell stories like they never have before. I was enthralled, page after page. Theirs was a unique relationship. They were polar opposites, but in ways few of us realized they were very much the same. They both wanted the same thing, day in and day out--to win. And did they know how to win.

When the Game Was Ours perfectly captures the defining moments of their lives from the very beginning of their fiercest of rivalries through their constantly evolving historical relationship and friendship right up to the present. This epic tome is the capstone of their landmark careers. It is also so much more than anyone could ever dream for. When the Game Was Ours brilliantly explains why "The Game" will always belong to Larry and Magic.--Bill Walton

(Photo © Joe Faraoni/ESPN)




Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson

Amazon.com: It was interesting to learn that a fast break during an exhibition game sparked the start of your long friendship. Talk about that play and how it set the stage for future Bird vs. Magic battles.

Larry Bird: What I remember about that play was we had the defender spinning around like a top because we moved the ball so quickly. I had never played with anyone who could pass the ball like Magic. I was blown away by the things he was doing on the court. But once we were done as teammates on that All-Star team, I moved on. And, a year later, when we played against each other for the NCAA championship, I treated him like he was just another guy. I wasn't too big on being friendly with people I was trying to beat. I think that upset him, but I didn't care. I was always taught, "Don't talk to the enemy."

Earvin "Magic" Johnson: I already knew about Larry before we played in the World Invitational Tournament. I was dying to meet this guy who went to Indiana, quit school, worked on a garbage truck, then came back and started putting up really big numbers for Indiana State. We played on the second team together during those exhibitions, and the way we moved the ball, we were better than the starters! That one play was so fast, so amazing, those Russian players had no idea what hit them. We didn't spend a whole lot of time together off the court, because Larry kept to himself, but I was real excited the following spring when I realized our Michigan State team was going to play his Indiana State team for the NCAA championship. I went over to say hello to him at the press conference a day or two before the game, and he totally blew me off. I couldn't believe it. I left thinking, "That Larry Bird, he's kind of a jerk." And the rivalry was on.

Amazon.com: Where did you each develop your love for the game?

Bird: My two older brothers, Mike and Mark, played basketball all day long. They were bigger and stronger than me, so they were better in the beginning. But I loved the way it felt when the ball dropped through the strings, so I was out there all the time, day and night, working on my game. I wasn't going to stop until I could beat my brothers. And by the time that happened, I was hooked on the game. I couldn't live without it.

Johnson: I honestly can't remember a time when basketball wasn't a part of my life. I grew up in a big family, so we played all kinds of sports, including basketball. I loved the way the ball felt in my hands. I took my ball with me everywhere--to school, to the store, to the school dances. People in Lansing, Michigan, got used to seeing me walking down the street dribbling my ball. I wasn't going to stop until I was in the NBA.

Amazon.com: If you could each replay one game from the past, which would it be and why?

Bird: I'd like to go back to the 1987 Finals, to the game when Magic sunk his junior junior hook. It was down to the final seconds, and Magic had Kevin McHale isolated out on the wing, and when he drove past him to the basket, our center, Robert Parish, came over to help, and I came over from the weak side, but probably a second too late. I never expected Magic to shoot a hook. I had never seen him do anything like that before. People forget that even after that basket, we still had a chance to pull it out. I got a great look from the baseline in the final seconds, but the shot rolled off. If I could go back and replay that game, maybe we would have won it, and possibly the series as well.

Johnson: That's easy. I'd go back to Game 2 of the 1984 Finals, when we were in Boston and about to take a 2–0 lead in the series, and instead I called a time-out in the final seconds. If I hadn't called it, we would have run out the clock and taken total command of the series. Instead, because of the time-out, the Celtics were able to set their defense, and James Worthy's pass was intercepted by Gerald Henderson. That was one of the most disappointing losses of my career, and I've never forgotten it.

Amazon.com: One of the most powerful moments in the book surrounds November 7, 1991--the day Magic announced he was HIV positive. Magic, why was it so important to you to contact Larry before the news hit?

Johnson: You've got to understand that by this point, we're like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Nobody talked about one of us without mentioning the other. We were that connected. I knew the minute the news hit, people would be flocking to get a reaction from both Larry and Michael Jordan, so I felt I had to give them some warning. Also, by then, Larry and I had developed a bit of a relationship. In spite of all our battles, I felt a real affection for him. He needed to know, and he needed to know from me.

Amazon.com: Larry, what do you remember most about that day?

Bird: The feeling I had in the pit of my stomach. It was a horrible, awful feeling. I just remember lying in my room, trying to take a nap, and all I could think about was that Magic would be dead soon. At that time, we didn't know much about HIV. We all just assumed he had been given a death sentence, and that was really shocking to think about.

Amazon.com: How did winning a gold medal with the 1992 Dream Team compare to winning an NBA championship?

Johnson: That whole experience in Barcelona was amazing, fantastic. At that point, I was technically retired from the NBA because of my HIV illness, and I missed basketball so much. To be out there playing for my country, not to mention alongside Larry and Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, was one of the biggest thrills of my life. I savored every single moment of it.

Bird: It was a little harder for me because my back was in such bad shape, and sometimes it was hard for me to enjoy it because of the pain. I just wanted to get into a game and make a contribution and be able to say I did it, that I was part of an Olympic team. And once I did that, I was happy. My goals were pretty realistic in Barcelona. Still, I didn't realize how amazing it would feel to be up on that medal stand, alongside Magic, John Stockton, Patrick, and all the guys, with that gold medal around my neck. That is one special memory.

Amazon.com: Who carries the NBA torch today?

Johnson: There's some great young talent out there, but I've got to choose the Laker, Kobe Bryant. I think he proved in the 2009 NBA championship that he learned how to balance his own individual skills with those of his teammates. That was a big step forward for him. What I liked best about Kobe was watching him enjoy himself. The game is supposed to be fun. Larry and I never lost sight of that.

Bird: You certainly couldn't go wrong choosing Kobe, but I'm a LeBron James man. He is so strong. He's also fearless, and he's convinced he can do anything. That's what stands out to me. He still has some steps to take, like bringing the same effort defensively every night that he brings on the offensive end, but he has all the tools to accomplish that. He's going to have a long, successful career that will include some championships of his own.

Amazon.com: If you both laced 'em up right now, who would win one-on-one in H-O-R-S-E?

Bird: Nobody beats me in H-O-R-S-E. Besides, Magic can't shoot.

Johnson: Larry, you'd have no chance against me one-on-one. I've got too many ways to beat you. Plus, as slow as I am, I'm still faster than you.

(Photo © Marc Serota RRA Media)




Photographs from When the Game Was Ours
(Click on images to enlarge)

Magic and his high school coach George Fox Larry and his mother Georgia in Salt Lake City, 1979 Magic and Larry in a pregame meeting of team captains Larry and Magic for a NBA promotional campaign
Larry and Magic in between takes of the 1985 Converse commercial Larry, Commissioner David Stern and Magic Larry, Michael Jordan, and Magic in their Dream Team uniforms Magic congratulates Larry at his retirement ceremony

Review

“MAGICBIRD, BIRDMAGIC really should be the titled “When the Game was Mine” because that is how they went after each other on the court.  In When the Game Was Ours you will enjoy an exhilarating ride down one of the most competitive rivalries ever.”
—Pat Riley

"Finally—a book that tells the story of Magic and Larry from their vantage point. When the Game Was Ours took me inside their fascinating rivalry with new insights and revealing details about two men who evolved from bitter competitors into lifelong friends."

—Denzel Washington

 

"At long last the great book on Bird and Magic—their own account, told from behind the scenes, inside huddles, confidential phone conversations, backseats of cars, and most importantly, from their inner hearts. Their book is alive with truth—it's a story of brilliance, brilliantly told with the help of prize-winning writer Jackie MacMullan."

Sally Jenkins, author of The Real All Americans, Funny Cide, and It’s Not About the Bike with Lance Armstrong
 

"When The Game Was Ours is the ultimate insiders' account of the rivalry, the friendship, the tension and the bond between Bird and Magic that launched the modern NBA. A real treat for all hoops fans."

Tom Verducci, author with Joe Torre of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Yankee Years
 

"You know that game where you pick a certain number of characters for your favorite dinner party of all time? (The one where you picked Gandhi, Babe Ruth, Li'l Wayne and, who was it, Jenna Jameson?) I just spent a couple of nights with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the lyrical When The Game Was Ours and they should be in the mix. They're funny, frank, anecdotal and just plain interesting. This book is terrific."

—Leigh Montville, bestselling author of Ted Williams and The Big Bam
 
"Unprecedented insight and commentary from the stars themselves on their unique relationship, a compelling mixture of bitter rivalry and mutual admiration... Offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Highly entertaining . . . A thrill-packed, lively and moving dual memoir." -- Shelf Awareness

"A terrific read." -- Sports Illustrated

"Spectacular." -- Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe

"An unbelievable read." -- Improper Bostonian

"You have to read this book!" -- Conan O'Brien

"A must-have for any basketball fan." -- Jimmy Kimmel

"A winner...Deftly explores the relationship between the former NBA superstars that started at arm's length [and] became a lasting friendship." -- USA Today

"Greatness commands our attention . . . uplifting . . . If ever there was a two-man Dream Team, they were it." -- New York Times Book Review

"In MacMullan’s capable hands, the tale is re-energized . . . a wonderful waltz down memory lane . . . A compelling and enjoyable read, every bit as entertaining as watching Magic and Bird battling on the parquet." – Boston Globe

"Fascinating . . .The former Boston Globe reporter and columnist masterfully weav[es] the recollections of the two protagonists with those of dozens of observers . . .The book is at its most powerful when it hews close to its premise: the evolution of perhaps sports' greatest rivalry . . . The game of basketball has never been better than when it was theirs."  -- Washington Post


More About the Author

Larry Bird played thirteen seasons with the Boston Celtics and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. He was head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000 and currently serves as their President of Basketball Operations.

Customer Reviews

Very good read, found it interesting.
Chase reeves
Great stories by two of the greatest basketball players, and maybe the greatest rivalry, in the history of the game.
Larry Foster
This book is a must read for basketball fans!
Wix

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Slevin VINE VOICE on October 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought it was really cool to see a book about the rivalry that brought us a new and improved NBA that was Larry Bird and Ervin Magic Johnson. The two, as you will see, could not be further apart in so many was as they were. They almost played on the same college team, you find out, but then they play against each other for years in so many venues.

The book is layed out so we have a target date or highlight date, whether it be the college finals, an allstar game or the NBA finals, you see each event as a time in history, from both of their perspectives and from those of others with a bit of history between events and from each of their lives. You learn a lot without brutal details about our two heroes. And really for some of us, that is just what they were. I hed the chance to talk to Ervin one day on the phone, really. He was a down to earth guy, and I thanked him for what he and Larry had done to the game. He said he heard that a lot. Interestingly, that was in 95, before he returned to play again. Who would have known that it truly was what got the game of Basketball back to what it could be.

Jackie MacMullan does a great job weaving and bobbing through the lives of both. Passing back and forth between the two of them and scoring with each chapter. (sorry, I just could not help myself).

This should go down as one of the most intriguing and best reads about pro basketball and even sports. This is a great book for those who experienced it, those who are interested in the game and even kids interested in the sport. It is written tastefully so young kids could read it.

These were two men of character that started off as fierce rivals and went on to mutual respect and became great friends. To see all of this behind the scenes and how the two of them kept their game great is a treat.

Highly recommend.
12 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
59 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Richardson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm sorry to be the one voice in opposition to the other reviews but I was so excited to get this book and had the worst time getting through it.
First...I never got the impression anybody but Jackie MacMullan was the author. If Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had not been listed as authors I'd have never wondered reading this why not. It doesn't read like they wrote it and Jackie put form to it...it reads as if Jackie wrote it and had interviewed them as well as many others...like a typical biography. I was more expecting that I'd be reading what I felt was direct writing from the two stars of the story.
My biggest gripe is the non linear story telling style used. In the brilliant book on Sandy Koufax the author alternated chapters of his life with a chapter about each of the innings of his perfect game and that was a clever way to tell the story and the biographical chapters were pretty much in chronological order. Books about folks who really don't have a great life story but a recent event of significance often begin with a "teaser" about something recent and then after the reader is grabbed take you back in time. The story of Bird and Magic needs no such gimmicks as this is a meaty story full of drama and much of it in my opinion is LOST because the author bounces around from year to year back and forth with no respect for chronological order so much of the story is confusing and drama lost. I say that as someone who knows the story and feels that the natural story arc is truly something special...and not needing of the continual back court dribble that the author employs.
The author also spends more pages on the first Converse commercial they filmed than either the 84 or 85 playoff series...man I was sad about that.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For twenty-years basketball fans have heard and read from many sources what the true feelings of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were like as these two unbelievably competitive men changed the game of basketball. They were so totally different... and yet at the core... so totally alike. For the first time Larry and Magic collaborate to reveal what they "really" thought about each other through each and every step of their game-changing careers. It's like having a split screen with Magic on one side and Larry on the other as they share their childhoods... college... and NBA careers... and even their post playing lives. At the end of each historical milepost the split screen becomes one as both Hall of Famers summarize in real-time... adding comments that are more sage with the blessing of age and maturity.

When Magic and his Michigan State team met Larry's Indiana State team for the National Championship Game in 1979 it drew a 24.1 Nielsen rating, "THE HIGHEST IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL HISTORY, A NOTEWORTHY MILESTONE THAT REMAINED UNTOUCHED THREE DECADES LATER." From that time forward Larry and Magic were forever linked-compared-and-intertwined for the rest of their lives. A mutual hatred breeded mutual respect and in the end a lifetime friendship. Along the way they were universally credited with saving the NBA. "IN 1979 THE LEAGUES FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH CBS WAS WORTH $74 MILLION. BY 2002 THE LEAGUE HAD INKED A SIX-YEAR DEAL WITH ABC, ESPN, AND TNT VALUED AT 4.6 BILLION." The author's pull no punches as they both admit that starting in the aftermath of their NCAA showdown that one hated the other. After Magic won the NBA championship in his rookie year Bird now admits extreme jealousy.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?