NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – In the history of the NBA, there have been only a few figures that have transcended the sport to become celebrities recognizable with just one name.
In his latest book, “Showtime: Magic, Kareem and Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s,” New Rochelle author Jeff Pearlman chronicled the tale of three of those men, who served as the face of one of the most dynamic dynasties in sports history.
Pearlman, who grew up a Nets fan, said that the book serves as celebration of “the greatest team of (his) life.” As a kid, he recalled being awestruck by the style and swagger of those Lakers teams, which won five championships during the '80s. He likened the Lakers’ national appeal to that of the Yankees, Dallas Cowboys or Montreal Canadians.
“I’m nostalgic, and I try to think of ideas from back in the day that haven’t been done before. There’s been a lot of Laker books, but not a great ‘Showtime’ book,” he said. “The team had it all. There were big characters, lots of winning, and the Lakers are a big, big franchise.”
In total, Pearlman estimates that from the beginning of his reporting to the conclusion of proof reading and publishing, he spent nearly two and a half years on the book. While he was in the process of writing, Pearlman could often be found with his nose in a book at Swirl Coffee or spending a late night with his laptop at the Mirage Diner.
The New York Times bestselling author of six books said that when he writes a book, he is less confined than he would be writing a feature or piece for a magazine.
“Writing a book takes a lot more reporting than a magazine piece, so it really teaches you how to how to dig, and not just surface dig, but to dig into a subject area and find out what makes them tick,” he said. “When you write a book, you have 180,000 words, not 5,000. There’s room to kick around and explore.”
For his next act, the Mahopac native, who has lived in New Rochelle for more than a decade, said he would like to stray away from the sports books he typically writes and delve into something different. With his next book, Pearlman plans to chronicle some of the rich history of his adopted city.
“I find (the history) fascinating, specifically some of the historic women that have lived in New Rochelle, so that is something I would like to try that’s different,” he said. “I love this town, it’s a great town. It’s always felt open-minded, and there’s a good exchange of expression and free ideas.”