Roland Lazenby has some experience with writing about big name players in the NBA. Prior to writing Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant, he’s written about Michael Jordan, Jerry West, the Stockton/Malone era of the Utah Jazz, and Larry Bird. He knows what it means to cover a superstar in the NBA. Showboat confirms just how great he is at doing that.
Showboat starts with Joe Bryant’s time in the NBA and overseas in Italy because that truly is when Kobe Bryant became who we’ve known him to be for his entire NBA career: the detail oriented, hardworking player. A lot of time is spent on a young Kobe Bryant. It makes sense since the majority of Lakers fans and NBA fans in general are familiar with his stardom.
Lazenby has notes on the Bryant family that span Kobe’s entire life. He takes those and turns them into nearly 600 pages that focuses on his life. It’s thorough, at times maybe a bit too much, and it gives you the whole picture. We’re not just getting bits and pieces of Kobe’s life with this book. His childhood, the NBA draft, the first run of championships, the Colorado incident, the second set of championships, and the disappointing, injury plagued seasons are all here.
If you’re a Lakers fan, and especially a Kobe fan, it will be easy to lose yourself in this behemoth of a book. It’s one you can either blow right through because it captures your attention, or you can take your time with it to be sure you don’t miss a single detail.
This book is easily going to end up on some definitive must-read list for Lakers books. I’ve read Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings, Jeanie Buss’ Laker Girl, and Madmen’s Ball, but none of those quite compare to Showboat. It’s so much information thrown at you all at once and with such a smooth writing style. Lazenby does an excellent job of using quotes that don’t make the book feel disjointed. He goes through it chronologically so you aren’t having to keep track of what era is being talked about.
To have this book come out the same year of Kobe’s retirement makes sense. It’s still relatively fresh in our minds. It’s also happens to coincide with the start of the first regular season without Kobe. I don’t think you could have asked for better timing than that.
Check out the book and grab a copy of it via Amazon.