In The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul, Jackson tells the full inside story of the season that proved to be the final ride of this great Lakers dynasty. From its beginnings in the off-season, with the signing of the future Hall-of-Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the enormous expectations it created, and the bombshell news of the felony sexual-assault charges against Kobe Bryant, one of the league's marquee superstars, Jackson describes the many challenges that arose during this turbulent season. Juggling enormous egos with enormous sums at stake, managing difficult relationships and public feuds, facing injuries, contract disputes, and team meltdowns, all in the shadow of the Kobe Bryant trial-slash-media circus, Phil Jackson somehow guided his team through to its fourth NBA Finals in his five years as its coach. There, finally, his team ran out of road, a failure Jackson examines with the same deep honesty and wisdom he brings to bear on the rest of this amazing season.
Few seasons in memory can rival this one for drama, and fewer coaches rival Phil Jackson in the ability to write about it with such wisdom and clarity. The combination has produced, in The Last Season, a book of tremendous human drama and timeless appeal, rich in lessons about coaching and about life.
©2004 Phil Jackson; (P)2004 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.
I must begin by confessing (1) I love the Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; (2) I love the Bulls of MJ, Dennis Rodman and Scotty Pippen; (3) I find the current crop of NBA players, typified by Kobe and Shaq, overpaid underperformers with a startling sense of entitlement.
I was interested in hearing what Phil Jackson had to say about The Last Season. He did not disappoint me. When he wrote about his former Bull team and team members, you could sense the love and longing in his tone. His heart was (and might always be) with them. When he writes about the Lakers, he is writing from the outside, as an observer, a hired hand. He admits that he felt an outsider, he refers to "The Laker Organization." He does not refer to "us." This lends some objectivity to his observations and comments.
He confirms my preconceived ideas about Kobe, but has forced me to re-evaluate my opinion of Shaq. Last week Kobe scored 41 points in a game and the Lakers lost. Based on what I heard in The Last Season, Kobe must be very happy. He is the star, there is no one around him competing for the limelight and he can say to one and all, as many three years olds like to do, "You are not the boss of me." Oh, the Lakers are losing? Who cares, its all about me, me, me.
I would recommend this book to any who is a fan of the NBA and is curious about what can cause a team with seemingly limitless talent to fail to reach its potential. For Phil Jackson, winning is not the most important thing; striving, doing your best, those are the things that count.
I completely agree with some of the other reviews, the narrator does a very poor job of conveying the otherwise fascinating information contained in this book. He reads in a smug, arrogant tone and all too often mispronounces player names. I found this very distracting during much of the listen.
The content itself is good and I would recommend the BOOK to any basketball fan.
This is an excellent story, however, the narrator didn't do his homework. Many of the names are prnounced wrong (Turk-a-glue, No-wits-ki) and all of the African-American athletes have voices like high jazz saxophone players. Come on - at least get someone who has respect for the game to read this book, or at minimum, some one who will learn to pronounce the words properly.
I have been an Audible subscriber for a long time. This is one of the most disappointing audio books I have ever listened to. The content is good, but the reader is not good at all. His style is to sound annoyingly assured and it is painful to listen to. I would recommend any one interested in this book to read it rather than listen to it. Like I said.........what a shame.
retired teacher, play competitive bridge and recreational golf, am a crafter
Although I live in the LA area, I am not a Laker fan. In spite of
this, I really enjoyed Jackson's chronical of a season I did not
follow. His description of the travils of coaching provide a good
insight into the profession.
This book has not converted me into a basketball fan; however, I am
a fan of Phil Jackson and hope he goes back into coaching or writes
I'd listen to Stephen Hoye read a grocery list - he's the best. And he conveys Phil Jackson's ups and downs during the course of this season. Jackson is a good writer and insightful. It's surprising how willing he was to be so honest about Kobe and Shaq, and just about his feelings in general. I don't think a non-sports fan would enjoy this much, but if you like sports, and especially basketball, you'll find a lot in here that's worthwhile.
Thank you, Phil Jackson, for this inside look at a world that fascinates and intrigues the viewer. You are a larger than life figure who manages to convey both your the human quaulities and those of the giants we love and hate.
Insightful book on the infamous 2003-2004 Lakers team. The Dream team that lost their way. Fascinating!
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