Michael Jordan: A Biography

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This bestselling biography of Michael Jordan has been updated to cover both his retirement and his exciting move into baseball--events that have sparked ongoing interest in the world's best athlete. Filled with stats, photos, action and personal insights.

A biography of Michael Jordan, detailing his career as the NBA's top scorer with the Chicago Bills.

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This bestselling biography of Michael Jordan has been updated to cover both his retirement and his exciting move into baseball--events that have sparked ongoing interest in the world's best athlete. Filled with stats, photos, action and personal insights.

A biography of Michael Jordan, detailing his career as the NBA's top scorer with the Chicago Bills.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 --Like many other popular sports biographers, Gutman follows the life and career of one of basketball's most outstanding players. Readers observe Michael Jordan's early and formative years; his growth into a high school and college player; and his career record of achievements to date. This readable book is filled with typical chatty details that will make readers feel as though they are really getting to know the player. A generally sufficient effort that will be enjoyed by a host of avid basketball fans. --J. J. Votapka, Hempstead Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671519728
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 3/2/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 173
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.66 (h) x 0.58 (d)

First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE: Beginnings

It's hard to say how greatness evolves. No one can really predict which youngsters are going to be nuclear physicists, astronauts, brain surgeons, artists, or presidents. The same is true of athletes. Where does the greatness come from? Even the offspring of many great athletes have failed to approach the skill levels achieved by their fathers or mothers.

In Michael Jordan's case, basketball greatness did not come overnight. But once it began, it was like a crescendo that never stopped. When he started his high school career, Michael was considered a fine' all-around athlete and a good basketball player. By his junior year he began showing the star quality that ultimately resulted in his being recruited by the University of North Carolina.

Not only did he crack the starting lineup at Carolina, but he also became the biggest hero in the state when his last-second jump shot gave the Tar Heels their first-ever national championship. Yet even with these heart-stopping heroics, he wasn't considered a superstar. That didn't come until the next year.

Michael achieved beyond expectations. He was voted College Player of the Year during his next two seasons, before deciding to forego his senior year for the professional ranks. Though he was the Bulls' first-round draft choice, no one expected Michael to make such a quick and complete transition to the pros. But once again he far exceeded everyone's expectations and began to become the dominant player of his time.

This was, however, not something that happened suddenly, and it certainly wasn't something that just "happened." There's little doubt that Michael Jordan was blessed with natural talestomer relations at the bank's downtown branch.

"It was always that way in our family," James Jordan said. "We have always tried to make things happen rather than wait around for them to happen. And we've always found that if you work hard you can make it happen the way you want."

Of course, children don't learn those lessons overnight. Michael was more of a recreational athlete as a young boy, sometimes lazy, usually discouraged because he couldn't compete with his older brother, Larry. He wasn't very tall during his early years and didn't have much hope of being tall. There were no men in the Jordan family over six feet. So before he reached high school, he gave little thought to an athletic career, especially in basketball.

During his childhood, Michael was always close to his parents, as were the rest of the Jordan children. He would often play ball with his father or help him with projects in their garage workshop. The youngster couldn't help noticing that his father would always curl his tongue to the side of his mouth when he was concentrating intensely. Before long, Michael had picked up the habit and brought it with him into his sports activities.

Whether he was playing baseball, basketball, or football, Michael would shoot his tongue out during an intense moment or when he was concentrating the hardest. It was something he began doing automatically and a habit that would follow him onto the basketball court in high school, college, and the pros. Photos of the airborne Jordan almost always include the mouth open and the tongue jutting outward. Coaches would tell him his tongue could be badly cut if he were hit at the wrong time or tripped up. But Michael always refused to wear a mou thpiece or protective device. To him, this was simply another way to express his delight in the game, and he didn't want to curtail it.

"I remember my high school coach telling me I was going to bite my tongue off and find it on the floor or in my pocket," Michael said. "He even tried to get me to wear a mouthpiece when I played. But I just can't do it. I've tried to play with my mouth closed. But if my tongue's not out, I just can't play,"

Baseball was the sport that Michael took to initially. At the age of 12 he was named the top player in his league and had his picture in the Wilmington Morning Star. He was extremely thin back then, but as a pitcher he could throw the ball hard. He also played the outfield.

By the time he reached D.C. Virgo Junior High School, Michael was a typical 15-year-old all-around athlete. He played three sports but wasn't really fanatical about any of them. Fred Lynch, who would be Michael's basketball coach at D.C. Virgo and his assistant coach later at Laney High, recalls meeting Michael for the first time.

"He liked to have a good time back then, but he also enjoyed playing sports," Coach Lynch said. "'And he was good. Michael was a point guard in basketball and did a lot of scoring for us. He was also a quarterback in football, and a pitcher and outfielder with the baseball team. He did a little bit of everything, but two things stand out when I think back to that time.

"One was that Michael was very competitive. He hated losing, even then, and that made him work extremely hard when he played any of the sports. The other thing was that his parents were always very supportive of him. They attended all the games and always looked for something positive, whether Michael played well or the team played well."

By the time Michael reached Laney High School as a tenth grader, he was already 5'10", two inches taller than his father and three inches taller than his older brother, Larry. But no one really expected him to grow much more. He was also a good, but not great, basketball player, and there were absolutely no indications of an airborne future after Laney. In fact, Michael was really no more than a solid, young three-sport athlete with the potential to be a fine high school player in each sport.

Michael was the quarterback for the Laney JV football team in the fall. Shortly after that, he moved right into basketball and was the starting point guard on the JV squad. Then, near the end of the season, something happened that would have a great impact on young Michael, something that changed his thinking about basketball and may have been instrumental in starting him on the road to court stardom.

Michael felt he was putting together a good sophomore season, when the word filtered down that the varsity was going to bring up a JV player for the stretch run, which they hoped would include the state tournament. Young Michael held his breath. He wanted to be the one, wanted it very badly. But when word came down from varsity coach Clifton "Pop" Herring, it was Michael's teammate Leroy Smith who got the call.

"It was a tough thing for Michael to take," recalls Fred Lynch. "Even back then he had the kind of ego that drives all great players. But at that time we still didn't know just how good he was going to be. So there were really two reasons that Michael didn't get called: One was that we felt he would be better off remaining with the JVs and getti ng his minutes rather than sitting the bench with the varsity; the other was simple -- Leroy Smith was about 6'5" and Michael was 5'10". What the varsity needed was height, a tall player. That made the choice relatively simple."

But that didn't make it any easier to accept. "I was disappointed," Michael admitted. "I was averaging over 20 points a game for the JVs, and with the state playoffs coming up, I thought I would get the call."

It got even worse than that. When the Laney team went to the regionals, Michael was allowed on the bus only because a student manager got sick. Once there, he didn't have a ticket to get in, so he had to carry the uniform of the team's best player, just as a manager would do. Then he had to sit on the bench, handing out towels during the game.

"I made up my mind right then and there that this would never happen to me again," Michael would say. "From that point on, I began working harder than ever on my basketball skills."

It was time to get serious.

Copyright © 1991, 1995, 1999 by Bill Gutman

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2002

    The best for now and forever

    Michael Jordan is a biography about the greatest basketball player of all time. It follows Michael from the small town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Michael went to Laney highschool. At Laney he played football, basketball, and baseball. In Micheal¿s Sophmore year he was cut from his basketball team. The book tells how determined he was to accomplish his goals. As many people know he went to North Carolina University and later went on to the pros as a Chicago Bull. Michael is the best player to ever play the game. The book tells about the choices between him going to the pros from college, and what he did after his father was kill. This book is very inspirational. You should really read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2002

    michel jordon

    michel jordon is the best basketball player in basketball history.I realy like michel jordon.

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