BLACKSBURG, Va., March 30, 2010 – Roland Lazenby, who teaches in Virginia Tech's department of communication, has authored a new book entitled, "Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon." Published by Random House/ESPN, the biography has received rave reviews from various sources.
The book appeared on the LA Times best-seller week in mid-March, climbing to number seven in the nonfiction category on March 21.
The LA Times recently noted "Sports biographies tend to careen between breathless hagiography and the slyly salacious. Lazenby ... has produced something of a different order -- a first-rate piece of narrative nonfiction whose subject happens to be a star athlete. His biography of West is, by turns, smart, beautifully reported, well-written and psychologically shrewd."
Booklist gave it a starred review: "a portrait that will mesmerize basketball fans who remember the man who became the model for the NBA’s ubiquitous logo. A thoughtful, serious biography of an athlete both blessed and cursed by talent and a competitive spirit.”
The Long Beach Press-Telegram also lauded Lazenby’s book as “the quintessential look into the fascinating odyssey of a person who rose from terrible poverty in rural West Virginia to becoming a rich and famous national sporting figure in Los Angeles."
According to Publishers Weekly, “This entertaining biography explicates how West, a shy, introverted perfectionist, emerged as a fabled college star with the West Virginia Mountaineers … Lazenby accurately captures the inner man, his quirks, his rituals, his competitiveness ... a great example of old school sports bio without tabloid muck, satisfying all fans.”
Lazenby, a native of Wytheville, Va., and current resident of Salem, Va., received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Military Institute and his master’s from Hollins University. He is the author of more than 50 sports books including “The Show – The Inside Story Of The Spectacular Los Angeles Lakers In The Words Of Those Who Lived It” (2006); “Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant” (1999) and “Hoo’s and Hokies: The Rivalry: 100 Years of Virginia/Virginia Tech Football” (1995) with Doug Doughty. Lazenby’s book “Bull Run!” (1996) was awarded 1997 Sports Book of the Year by the Independent Publishers Association.