Michael Jordan: The Lifeby Roland Lazenby
"It's not every day that I'm blown away by a book about a sports figure. But MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE, by Roland Lazenby, ranks up there with the very best: The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger, and Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer. The depth of reporting, his frequent ascent into poetry, and his/i>/i>/i>
"It's not every day that I'm blown away by a book about a sports figure. But MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE, by Roland Lazenby, ranks up there with the very best: The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger, and Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer. The depth of reporting, his frequent ascent into poetry, and his intelligent analysis of the life of this complicated, fascinating American icon deserve Pulitzer Prize consideration. For the first time I understand what makes Michael Jordan tick. I was captivated, fascinated and beguiled from beginning to end." Peter Golenbock, New York Times-bestselling author of George and In the Country of Brooklyn
The definitive biography of a legendary athlete
The Shrug. The Shot. The Flu Game. Michael Jordan is responsible for sublime moments so ingrained in sports history that they have their own names. When most people think of him, they think of his beautiful shots with the game on the line, his body totally in sync with the ball hitting nothing but net.
But for all his greatness, this scion of a complex family from North Carolina's Coastal Plain has a darker side: he's a ruthless competitor and a lover of high stakes. There's never been a biography that encompassed the dual nature of his character and looked so deeply at Jordan on and off the court until now.
Basketball journalist Roland Lazenby spent almost thirty years covering Michael Jordan's career in college and the pros. He witnessed Jordan's growth from a skinny rookie to the instantly recognizable global ambassador for basketball whose business savvy and success have millions of kids still wanting to be just like Mike. Yet Lazenby also witnessed the Michael Jordan whose drive and appetite are more fearsome and more insatiable than any of his fans could begin to know. Michael Jordan: The Life explores both sides of his personality to reveal the fullest, most compelling story of the man who is Michael Jordan.
Lazenby draws on his personal relationships with Jordan's coaches; countless interviews with Jordan's friends, teammates, and family members; and interviews with Jordan himself to provide the first truly definitive study of Michael Jordan: the player, the icon, and the man.
Michael Jordan’s role as handsome pitchman/basketball champion belies a complicated life in this hefty, revelatory biography by veteran basketball author Lazenby (Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon). Nearly branded a lost cause by his parents, Jordan turned his passion for hoops into a furious work ethic that included not stopping one-on-one games until he won and catching an early morning ride with his high school coach to the gym before school. As Jordan’s fame grew—hitting the game-winning shot for the University of North Carolina in the 1982 NCCA Championship, reviving the Chicago Bulls with his aerial artistry, winning six NBA titles—his world grew into a turbulent fishbowl. Fame became so overwhelming that he limited his circle of friends to a select few; his family, torn apart by accusations and bad business decisions, became irritants. The search for competition was almost toxic: he created feuds with players to elevate his game. And his corrosive relationship with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, a blunt personality, helped hasten the break-up of a dynasty. Lazenby’s work isn’t definitive—Jordan, after all, is still alive—but it yields a fascinating examination into the lonely, prideful man behind the glimmering icon. (May)
One of Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2014
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist: History and Biography
"In his thoughtful, extraordinarily well-researched biography "Michael Jordan: The Life," Roland Lazenby... gives us the life and much more.... The exhaustive narrative of Jordan's basketball career is written with appropriate awe. But what makes this portrayal especially worthwhile is everything else."Mike Greenberg, New York Times Book Review"
An utterly definitive biography.... The most comprehensive attempt yet made to explain the factors that have gone into producing the most famous basketball player and marketing phenom in the history of world sports....I don't know how it would be possible to write a more complete biography of him."The Chicago Tribune"
When a world-class biographer writes about a world-class athlete, you have a biography for the ages. This is the ultimate study of Michael Jordan, and I know you will be as captivated as I was."Pat Williams, Orlando Magic senior vice president, author of Coach Wooden's Greatest Secret"
Revelatory.... A fascinating examination into the lonely, prideful man behind the glimmering icon."Publishers Weekly"
Roland Lazenby's new biography of Michael Jordan is as breathtaking as a dunk by 'His Airness.' ... A richly detailed, thoroughly researched book.... Lazenby expertly sifts through the myths to produce a definitive portrait of Michael Jordan."Bob D'Angelo, Tampa Tribune"
Right from its early pages it's clear that Roland Lazenby's biography of Michael Jordan is in full-press mode to be the best volume ever written on perhaps basketball's greatest player.... Lazenby's a born researcher and some serious legwork went into gathering all of the quotes and facts here, which add up to a kind of Jordan-centric encyclopedia."Colin Fleming, The Boston Globe"
Lazenby's thoroughly enjoyable biography is an impressive portrait of a man consumed by his competitive ambitions. It is also by far the most complete book on Michael Jordan to date.... Essential reading for all sports fans and particularly for those interested in American cultural history and popular culture."Library Journal (starred review)"
A lot has been written about arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, but Roland Lazenby's Michael Jordan: The Life is easily the definitive version. The journalist has covered Jordan's career for nearly thirty years and his knowledge of the game and of this miraculous player shows in what is one of the best sports biographies in years."Parade"
What makes this portrayal especially worthwhile is the long trail Lazenby follows before the awesome career even begins."New York Times Book Review's "Editor's Choice""
It's not every day that I'm blown away by a book about a sports figure. But MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE, by Roland Lazenby, ranks up there with the very best: The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger, and Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer. The depth of reporting, his frequent ascent into poetry, and his intelligent analysis of the life of this complicated, fascinating American icon deserve Pulitzer Prize consideration. For the first time I understand what makes Michael Jordan tick. I was captivated, fascinated and beguiled from beginning to end."Peter Golenbock, New York Times-bestselling author of George and In the Country of Brooklyn"
Lazenby looks beyond the on-court exploits of a sports and cultural icon to find the complicated, and often contradictory, man behind the myth."ESPN Holiday Gift Guide"
Studded with insights."Kirkus Reviews"
Resplendent... A definitive, multidimensional portrait of a man and a legend, and a notable contribution to sports literature."Miriam Tuliao, BookReporter"
Lazenby's book is impressive in its research. There are details bound to surprise even the most die-hard Bulls fan."Mike McGraw, The Chicago Daily Herald"
The definitive portrait.... The dream of the non-fiction writer is to condemn future books on the same subject to irrelevance. It's possible Lazenby has achieved this lofty goal: nothing more needs to be written about Jordan."Adrian Lee, Macleans"
A comprehensive look at the life and times of the man and the legend.... A great work for any sports enthusiast and B-ball fan to read about one of the best that ever came to the game."Brook Stephenson, Ebony"
Lazenby is one of the best, most thoughtful and thorough people writing books on the NBA today, which makes all his books fascinating reads and great looks at the psychology of teams and great players. His stuff is must read."Kurt Helin, NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk
Lazenby is "the Michael Jordan of writing about Michael Jordan."MSNBC's The Cycle"
Lazenby's prose soars as dramatically and excitingly as does his subject. Jordan appeared to fly through the air; Lazenby makes time fly as readers immerse themselves in an extraordinarily competitive life. Does any biography deserve 700 pages? When you read Lazenby's Michael Jordan: The Life you'll be hard-pressed to answer anything but yes."Michael Levin, New York Journal of Books"
MJ's life is a movie worth watching again, and Lazenby adds enough deleted scenes to add some oomph to the familiar story."Booklist
An exhaustive—and exhausting—biography of the greatest player in NBA history. Countless words have been written about Michael Jordan since his NBA debut in 1984, to which veteran sportswriter Lazenby (Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, 2010, etc.) adds this exceedingly long biography. So much of Jordan's legend—his highlight reel, his logo, his six championship rings—is old hat even to non–basketball fans, yet the author purports to examine what makes "The God of Basketball" tick. Lazenby begins with an examination of Jordan's gene pool, going back to his great-grandfather's birth in 1891, and readers can be forgiven a sense of ennui (if not dread) when he doesn't get around to Jordan's rookie NBA season until a third of the way into the book. The author strives to reveal what he calls "the many tightly clasped secrets of the Jordan legend," but does lifting the veil—and in such depth—increase fans' appreciation of his extraordinary playing career? Lazenby offers solid insight into Jordan's renowned competitive fury, and there is a well-told story of how Nike came to endorse and build a brand around a rookie who had yet to play a single minute of pro ball. He also shares how Chicago Bulls head coach Kevin Loughery saw fit to implement an "all-Jordan, all the time" offensive strategy early in Jordan's career, which let the egotistical lion out of the cage, to the consternation of teammates as well as league veterans, who found the cocksure youngster arrogant and standoffish. Fortunately, Lazenby doesn't traffic in obsequious prose; although fairly dry, the book is dutifully and objectively written. However, though the author covered Jordan's college and professional career for decades, many readers likely won't share his single-mindedness. Studded with insights but unnecessarily long—though, given the continued aura of Jordan, likely to sell well.
Lazenby's thoroughly enjoyable biography is an impressive portrait of a man consumed by his competitive ambitions. It is also by far the most complete book on Michael Jordan to date, covering every aspect of his life (b. 1963) from his North Carolina ancestors to his current ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats. The number of interviews Lazenby appears to have conducted is particularly admirable. Of special note are long quotes from former Chicago Bulls guard Steve Kerr and from longtime Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach. Both men seem to understand Jordan very well and are alert to his foibles and his considerable charms, making for the most delightful reading. Lazenby also deserves praise for the attention he devotes to Jordan's impact on the economics of professional sports, endorsement contracts, and advertising. That much of this was owing to circumstance and Jordan's likable personality—not strictly his athletic skills and accomplishments—is not surprising but nonetheless revealing. The author's take on the story of Nike and Jordan is the most thorough and fascinating version yet. VERDICT Essential reading for all sports fans and particularly for those interested in American cultural history and popular culture.
- Little, Brown and Company
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- 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.00(d)
Meet the Author
Roland Lazenby is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, among numerous other books. He has spent the past three decades interviewing NBA players, coaches, staff members, and other figures while writing about the league. He lives in Virginia.
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We got this book for him and he cannot put it down. He keeps watching clips of Michael Jordan playing as he reads about different moments in his life.
Michael Jordan is one othe best players of all time. He is like my idol and so is Lebron james.. but they got some competition. Whos gonna be the best player of all time?
KD (Kevin Durant) is the best of all time