The NBA's most dapper coach turns out to be a literary wolf in GQ clothing, going it alone without coauthor in this inspiring account of the 1986-87 Lakers championship season. ""Don't let the ease and good looks fool you"" is the defiant message of this cool, intelligent leader, whose mission here is to silence, once and for all, critics who say the Lakers' success is an inevitable result of their sheer physical prowess. Instead, Riley demonstrates, the key is the discipline that harnesses the marvelous talents of Kareem, Magic, Cooper, et al. Preparation and motivation, he argues, were the foundation of last year's ""Career Best System"" that the coach himself devised in order to motivate the Lakers' reclamation of the NBA title. Riley is an inveterate consumer of both NBA statistical minutiae and diverse inspirational literature (he even quotes Shakespeare apropos teamwork); the data he collects is then fed into the basketball genius of the Lakers big-game players, particularly Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and reconstituted as faultless game plans that produce win after win. About the players themselves Riley is more than generous, modestly balancing discussion of his important role with high praise for their individual talents. He also seems to truly relish the comradeship of his trade. The book opens and closes with a touching account of a chance encounter with Johnson in the Bahamas after dethroning the Celtics for the title. It is refreshing to read a sports book in which the (male) players unabashedly reveal vulnerability and soul. A dramatic, engaging book that cogently explains the success of one of modern America's great sports franchises.