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Playing for Keeps : Michael Jordan and the World He Made
The author of the number one bestseller The Summer of '49 and other seminal books about American sports, politics, and culture now turns his attention to a modern American legend -- Michael Jordan -- whose name alone evokes excellence. Halberstam explores Jordan's character and achievements not only as a professional champion but as a teenager and student athlete. He chronicles Jordan's years at UNC under the tutelage of Coach Dean Smith. He recreates with passion and precision Jordan's early NBA career and his development under Phil Jackson, the cerebral and eccentric coach of the Chicago Bulls. There are portraits of the championship games and the players and teams Jordan and the Bulls beat to reach the NBA pinnacle -- Larry Bird and the Celtics, Magic Johnson and the Lakers, and Isiah Thomas and the Pistons -- and an analysis of what makes Jordan the transcendent player and champion he is. Halberstam also chronicles the commercial forces that have changed the game during Jordan's career and the people behind those forces: David Stern, architect of the modern NBA; David Falk, the agent who changed the nature of sports representati
Halberstam (The Children, etc.) has written an excellent book about the game of basketball and its greatest player. Readers familiar with Halberstam's customary insight into American life might think he pulls some punches. But this is an engrossing portrait�much edgier than the ballplayer's own current bestseller, For the Love of the Game. This is an examination of Jordan as athlete and media phenomenon, of the superstar's professional life and also of the NBA's coming of age. The focus is squarely on Jordan's astounding competitiveness and will power, qualities that, Halberstam argues, have as much or more to do with Jordan's success than even his remarkable talent. Meandering back and forth through time, Halberstam covers everything from the invention of ESPN to the genius of Spike Lee's Nike commercials�and every major playoff game Jordan played. With equal enthusiasm, Halberstam profiles the supporting cast: Bulls' coach Phil Jackson, whose job was to "maximize Jordan's abilities, without letting him suck the oxygen away from his teammates"; agent David Falk, who created "the idea of the individual player as a commercial superstar"; teammate Scottie Pippen. The book is filled with salty, informed hoops talk. It does not, however, give readers an intimate look at Jordan, who declined the author's request for an interview. Nor does Halberstam pursue difficult questions about Jordan's character, about the way he has decided to use (or not use) his celebrity and his wealth. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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Open Road Integrated Media, LLC
February 01, 2000
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