Golden Days: West’s Lakers, Steph’s Warriors, and the California Dreamers Who Reinvented Basketball

By Jack McCallum

Book Cover: Golden Days: West's Lakers, Steph's Warriors, and the California Dreamers Who Reinvented Basketball

The bestselling author of Dream Team tells the interconnected stories of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and the early-1970s Los Angeles Lakers, two extraordinary teams playing in extraordinary times and linked by one extraordinary man: Jerry West.

During their 1971–72 championship season, the L.A. Lakers won thirty-three games in a row, a streak that still stands as the longest and greatest in the history of American professional sports. It was a run of uninterrupted dominance that predated by decades the overwhelming firepower of today’s Warriors, a revolutionary team whose recent seasons include some record-threatening win streaks of their own.

In Golden Days, acclaimed sports journalist Jack McCallum uses these two teams—the Jerry West/Wilt Chamberlain/Elgin Baylor Lakers and the Stephen Curry/Kevin Durant/Draymond Green Warriors—to trace the dynamic history of the National Basketball Association, which for much of the last half-century has marched memorably through the state of California.

Tying together the two strands of McCallum’s story is Hall of Famer West, the ferociously competitive Laker guard who later became one of the key architects of the Warriors. With “the Logo” as his guide, McCallum takes us deep into the locker rooms and front offices of these two era-defining teams, leveraging the access and authority he has amassed over his forty-year career to create a picture of the cultural juggernaut that the NBA has become.

Featuring up-close-and-personal portraits of some of the biggest names in basketball history, from the larger-than-life Wilt Chamberlain to the innovative Warriors coach Steve Kerr to the transcendent duo of Curry and Durant, Golden Days is a history, not just of a changing sport, but a changing America, as seen through the prism of two teams that ruled the league during times of violence and political turmoil—the Charles Manson murders and the athlete-activist in the age of Trump among the narrative backdrops.

In the end, McCallum’s book leaves an indelible portrait of West, the man who lived, played, and worked through it all—and who remains, on the cusp of his eightieth birthday, one of the most vital, complicated, and compelling figures in all of sports.

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