It seems silly now, but for generations of sports fans either scattered to distant time zones or locked into commitments that ran counter to the schedules of their favorite teams — in particular college basketball’s March Madness, and conference tournaments — listening to games on the sly, on a Walkman, became a special sort of clandestine art. Wires were run up shirtsleeves, innocuous languid poses perfected — it was its own sort of game, defying authority to indulge in the exploits of your favorite athletic heroes. Or maybe someone had a portable TV, in which case said item was shielded by a fortress of books, or tucked into a locker, or corner workspace.
The advent of TiVo and other digital recorders forever changed the landscape of sports viewing in America, and would seemingly provide a death blow to the sort of specialized DVD release that Los Angeles Lakers: 2010 NBA Finals Series Collector’s Edition represents. But if Americans love their sports, they also love reliving the contact highs of athletic events, and so gussied-up commercial releases of Super Bowls, Final Fours and the like continue to do well (provided the winners aren’t regional weaklings or complete one-off underdogs), even as the traditional DVD market recedes.
An eight-disc DVD set celebrating the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA championship run earlier this summer, this definitive box set features all seven games of the 2010 NBA Finals series in their entirety, chronicling an epic rivalry renewed, and a hotly anticipated rematch two years in the making. The 2010 Finals series actually exceeded the considerable hype, as the Lakers and Boston Celtics — the two most successful hoops franchises in NBA history, accounting for a combined 33 of the sports’ 64 championships — picked up where they left off in 2008 when the Celtics defeated the Lakers to earn a first title for stars Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. After splitting the first four games, the Lakers put themselves in a double-elimination-game hole before smoking the Celtics 89-67 in Game Six, led by Finals MVP Kobe Bryant. Taking the series to a Game Seven at home, Los Angeles found themselves down by 13 points in the third quarter, only to claw their way back and eventually prevail 83-79, repeating as champions in what would be the most watched NBA game in over a decade.
Housed in eight slimline cases in turn stored in an attractive cardboard slipcover, Los Angeles Lakers: 2010 NBA Finals Series Collector’s Edition comes presented on DVD in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, enhanced for 16×9 televisions, with a Dolby digital 2.0 surround sound audio track. As anyone who is familiar with the high-definition presentation of sports telecasts knows, the image tends to be fairly crisp, while there is a slight bit of fuzziness to some of the graphics packages. Regardless, the sound is crisp, and certainly an upgrade over almost any homemade digital transfer to disc. In addition to reliving all the dramatic in-game action of this epic
series, this collection comes with a separate bonus DVD that includes
postgame press conferences, and celebratory mini-movies partially
comprised of locker room footage.
The only thing that would have given this set more value-added punch — something beyond a wallow in purple-and-gold glory for diehard Lakers fans — is more “color packages” (interviews with fans at the arenas) and some postmortem interviews from any of the vast array of ex-hoopster talking heads that populate ESPN and sports talk radio during the month-long NBA playoff season. Sell more aggressively the league’s history, NBA, and then even when your dynastic franchises stumble, you’ll be able to move units of that Oklahoma City Thunder Collector’s Edition. To purchase the DVD set via Amazon, click here. Or to purchase the DVD set via Half, click here. B+ (Collection) B (Disc)