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Journey to the Ring: Behind the Scenes with the 2010 NBA Champion Lakers Hardcover – November 3, 2010
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About the Author
Phil Jackson, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007, has won more NBA titles than any coach and has more playoff victories than any coach in any major professional sport in the United States. In any discussion of the NBA's all-time best coach, JacksonAEs silent advocates are the facts: architect of eleven of the NBA's last twenty champions, holder of the all-time highest winning percentage during the regular season (.705) and playoffs (.697), fastest to 1,000 coaching victories, first coach to win three consecutive titles three times. When winning Game 1 of any playoff series, best-of-five or best-of-seven, Jackson's teams are 48-0. Andrew D. Bernstein, senior director of NBA Photos, joined the NBA in 1983 and has been its senior photographer since the position was created in 1986. In his twenty-eight years with the league, Bernstein has shot every NBA Finals since 1983, covering more championship series games than any photographer.
Top customer reviews
The pictures are mostly snapshots, non-descript most of the time not really capturing many significant or impressive moments. It does have a candid, rough sketch type of quality to it that you would appreciate when you find it in a blog, but you expect more from a hardcover. Often some of the pictures are lazy shots, taken with little thought about composition (they are snaps) using wide angles just to cram everything in.
Phil Jackson supplies the text to the pictures, and some are insightful, some are laced with typical PJ barbs, but mostly they are rather bland, mostly praising teammates.
All in all, it is just what it is: a commemorative note-book of a championship team.
You buy it if you want to own a bit of the championship and if you are a fan of the franchise. For any other reason, pass.
To cleanse the palate, Bernstein also exhibits photos of our guys captured in their more private moments, whether it's Phil cooking Thanksgiving dinner or Artest playing football on the beach or Lamar either chillin' out by the pool or sitting in an abandoned hallway, trying to get away from the media before a game. And, really, the photos that depict the team not in action but instead in repose, those photos are what lends this book its grounding and heft. Sometimes, you get more out of gazing at Kobe caught in deep reflection or at Bynum hunched in his chair with his knee brace telling a story of unmet potential. Bernstein's classy black & white photography presents a lush and vibrant tone, lends more texture, looks more powerful. Apparently, some of these photos were originally in color, but were converted to black & white. I'm not a photographer so I can't talk much about composition and lighting and film exposure and such. I'll say, instead, that Bernstein accomplishes what he set out to do. You flip thru this book and gaze at the images, and you get a sense of the long grind and the camaraderie and the drain on the mind, the sap on the will, the toll that it takes, and the competitive spirit that emerges. Those shots of the Lakers celebrating after Game 7, reaping the reward, soaking in the adulation... man, I love the Lakers.
There's a bittersweet twinge, though, in going thru some of the pages and setting eyes on guys like Mbenga and Morrison and Josh Powell, ex-Lakers now. Farmar, much as I liked him as a UCLA Bruin and as a Lakers PG, got on my bad side with his attitude and his agenda and his inability to make his mark in the long term. But he did his damn thing, has won two championship rings and now seeks to expand his game and his rep. I'm not mad at Jordy, but I don't miss him much.
One of my favorite segments is at the end of the book which is devoted to player portraits. In his afterword, Andrew Bernstein goes into this fleetingly, and to piggyback what he writes, he applies a medium format film that brings out a "richness and depth" to the photos. Technically, I don't know what he's talking about. But the players' faces really pop out. These are spectacular pictures.
Coach Phil Jackson provides insight and the occasionally caustic narrative to complement these images. He doesn't throw Kobe under the bus. It's a win-win.