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The Inside Track

Hot Corner

July 23, 2002|Larry Stewart

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

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What: "Dynasty!!! The Official NBA Finals 2002 Retrospective"

Author: John Hareas.

Publishers: NBA Entertainment, the Sporting News, NVU Productions.

Price: $24.95.

This 9-inch-by-12-inch, 112-page coffee-table book with a glossy jacket and gold-embossed cover is being released in conjunction with the official NBA Finals home video and DVD, which are due out today. The photography is excellent, and there is some good reading as well, including a three-page foreword with Phil Jackson listed as the author.

The foreword, titled "The Longest Season," provides a fairly revealing look at the Lakers' season as seen through the eyes of their coach, regardless of whether he actually typed the words.

The foreword begins with Jackson addressing his players on the opening day of training camp at Honolulu.

He told them it was going to be a tough season, that every team would be bringing their "A" game. Jackson also told them his mother was very ill. She died two days later, on Oct. 2, causing Jackson to miss the next week of training camp.

The foreword includes much more about the Western Conference finals against Sacramento than the Finals, which are called "a bit anticlimactic."

Laker fans will like this comment from Jackson: "We don't feel we've reached our limits yet."

The book opens with the Lakers' championship celebration, then comes a look at other NBA dynasties. There are separate chapters on Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Jackson and the supporting cast. The book concludes with chapters on the regular season, the early rounds of the playoffs and the Finals.

The author, John Hareas, works for NBA Entertainment. He is not as close to the Lakers as Riverside Press-Enterprise columnist Lyle Spencer, who provided the copy for last year's official book. But it really doesn't matter. The color photos--all 225 of them--are what make this book.

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