It has been quite the literary showing for the K Brothers. On Oct. 29, vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss was kind enough to visit the Land O' Lakers PodKast and talk about her new novel "Laker Girl."
A week later, another author graces our studio. This time, it's NBA senior director of photos Andy Bernstein, whose new book "Journey to the Ring: Behind the Scenes with the 2010 NBA Champion Lakers" hits stands on Wednesday. It's a stunning photo journal of the 2010 season, featuring thoughtful captions by Jeanie's "Boobah," Phil Jackson. The pictures take fans way behind the scenes of the 2010 title defense, with access off-limits to most members of the media (including a certain pair of bloggers).
Bernstein dropped by ESPNLA On Air this weekend to talk about the book, which I rightly described as the ultimate coffee table book for any Lakers fan. Bernstein talked about the process of chronicling an entire season, earning a team's trust and what constitutes great sports photography.
There's a terrific shot in the book of Kobe Bryant in Madison Square Garden's visiting locker room. Positioned like Rodin's "The Thinker," he's sitting before a game with his ankles submerged in a giant cooler of ice water. His problematic index finger? Bathing in a coffee cup filled with ice. The intensity in his face and body language leaps off the page. Bernstein described to us the process of capturing such a moment, along with his admiration for Bryant:
"That's a moment I have to be very, very discreet with. He's obviously in a very pensive moment, thinking about the game coming up. This is about two hours before game time in Madison Square Garden. He's trying to get a little private time in a very small locker room. It's the kind of thing where I see it out of the corner of my eye, I turn, maybe snap two shots of it, praying that he doesn't hear the shudder going off. Of course, I'm not using a flash.
"This picture says so much about Kobe, about how he was battling injuries at that time. It was the middle of the season. He's trying to make it back. They're on a long road trip. They had just lost [one] game on the road trip, if you remember. They have, like, four more, five more games in front of them. And he's hurting. He really is trying to get himself together mentally and physically.
"I just love that picture."
(FYI, we collaborated with Andy last season on a project where players commented on photos of themselves during the 2009 title run. For those who didn't see it, take a gander now. The shots and player commentary are pretty awesome.)
UPDATE: Henry Abbott at TrueHoop digs into the book as well, pulling out some of Phil Jackson's wisdom.