I started the book on Friday and finished it on a Saturday. Bender does an outstanding job covering Tex Winter's Life up to and including his joining the LA Lakers in 99. The book covers the life of a 78 year old basketball guru (the Master of the Triangle Offense) and spans his 50+ coaching years at the college and professional level. Bender's writing style is well balanced...and is completely honest. Tex Winter's coaching philosophy is covered with frequent quotes from Tex Winter's 1962 Coaching Book, the Triple Post Offense. Some readers may see this authorized biography as kind of a "Forest Gump of Basketball" due to it's basic story telling of Tex's as a folksy, nice guy with a willingness to tell the "unvarnished truth". More importantly, the book serves as a useful reference tool on how a person should face conflict and live life in a stressful world. Bender writes a biography that illustrates the importance of good character, hard work, integrety, having a sense of humor, and not taking yourself too seriously. Basketball coaches will find the book instructional with the many lessons learned from a coaching career spanning 7 decades...specifically it descibes how a coach deals in a competitive must win environment. I especially liked how the book started off and closed. Foreward is by Phi Jackson. MJ, Pippen and Rodman fans will enjoy the second half of the book which deals largely with the Chicago Bull years (some new stuff too). As Mickey would say, "Try it, your Like It" or better yet, just read it!
Bender's succinct, edgy style carries the reader through Winter's life while racing down the court with Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and other NBA giants. Bender tells it like it was--no holds barred. Winter's coaching philosophy of discipline, hard work, fairness and individual intergrity comes alive as we watch him lead individual players to become not only the best players they can be, but also the best men that they can be. Bender brings basketball personalities to life as we watch them struggle to learn Winter's famous "triangle offence" and to balance their individual desires for achievement and glory with Winter's emphasis on the ultimate good of the whole team. The pace is fast, and the anecdotes and behind-the-scenes tidbits entertain as we go with the teams through Winter's unprecedented 53 year professional career as a coach. From Kansas State, Washington, and the Houston Rockets to fourteen years with the Chicago Bulls, and the current LA Lakers, we travel the backroads of behind the scene basketball. Bender gives us the inside story on the conflicts, the joys, and the frustrations of coaching mega-stars with mega-egos while trying to teach them values of character and integrity. This book would be a perfct gift for any high school athlete. Bender gives the reader deep insights into not only the sports psychology that Winter uses, but into the secrets of what it really takes to be able to uphold personal values in the rip-roaring jungle of professional sports. I loved every minute of this great ride, and if you love basketball, you will too!
Trial by Basketball is the Slaughterhouse Five sports book. It's a fascinating history into Laker coach Tex Winters rise from garage band gymnasium roots, college sucess, the amazing Bull Run to current Los Angeles Laker status. As a Long Beach State 49er booster and renewed Laker backer, I recommend TRIAL strongly to fans from N.Y. to L.A. The authors unique style is a keenly accurate flashback account of Tex Winters classic career with insights into the world of sports and life as it is! A humorously intriguing One of A Kind Biography. The book equally satisfies the golden age Wilt Chamberlain transition era as well as the Rodman, Kobe X'er generation. ONCE YOUR IN TO IT, YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF IT--- MARK BENDER CLEANLY RUNS THE TABLE!------------------------ Linda Fallico-Coto De Caza, Ca.