Yes, I really think that Cameron Stauth's book is a heckuva entertaining read. I have encountered very few authors that put as much zip on their narratives as he does. In particular, there is no doubt that Stauth's book poignantly revolves around Earvin "Magic" Johnson and how he handles his recently discovered status as being HIV-positive. In that regard, the author presents Johnson in a very fair and consistent manner, where he certainly isn't flawless but he was truly the heart and soul of the 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team (aka "the Golden Boys") (aka "the Dream Team"). The major supporting storylines feature Dream Teamers Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley, as they each have their own complicated issues affecting their careers.
Stauth effectively (and cleverly) weaves in biographical material about each of the players, as he explores the team's selection process, the 1992 NBA season, and the various hijinks before and during the Olympics. Of particular note, the section about how head coach Chuck Daly and his assistants were selected through backroom politics seemed very plausible, if not amusing. Another highlight is the early section about an incredible "anything goes" shoot-around game of H-O-R-S-E between Johnson, Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, and Chris Mullin. Stauth's reporting here seems top notch, as he describes it so well that you can easily visualize it in front of your eyes.
The only hazard light I wish to mention about this book is Stauth's frequent tendency to get inside a player's head and describe what he thinks or is feeling (i.e. how much Jordan despises Isiah Thomas). To the author's credit, he points out how wary the Dream Teamers were around journalists, but Stauth doesn't explain how he was somehow an exception. I suspect that no Dream Teamer (let alone any high-end pro athlete) would realistically have been that candid with any journalist. Hence, Stauth's credibility, at times, seems rather strained. Still, his "insider" accounts seem quite plausible and may be at least basically true, but there is really no way to know how much has been enhanced or exaggerated by the author's own speculation. In other words, how often is Stauth stretching the truth for dramatic purposes?
For instance, you should first read Stauth's version of Larry Bird's agony over whether or not to retire before or after the Olympics, and then compare it to Bird's own insightful account in his 1999 autobiography, "Bird Watching." Their two versions don't exactly match (and Bird makes no mention of Stauth as a confidant), so it certainly makes one wonder how much of the players' true feelings are actually exposed here. Therefore, deciding which of the book's surprising revelations is really Stauth's imagination is up to the reader, I suppose.
Overall, it is a superb read for NBA fans, if not taken too seriously. 4 **** out of 5.
1st Note: this book should definitely be rated PG-13 (for profanity and some vulgar sexual references). I wouldn't recommend letting kids read this book for this reason.
2nd Note: Unlike the hardcover edition, the updated paperback version has a brief epilogue discussing Bird's retirement and Johnson's aborted Fall 1992 return to the L.A. Lakers and the NBA.