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Michael Jordan: The Life [Kindle Edition]

Roland Lazenby
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $30.00
Kindle Price: $14.49
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

"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.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lazenby, author of an acclaimed biography of NBA great Jerry West, correctly points out that there have been enough books written about Michael Jordan to qualify as a genre. So why another? In order to reveal, Lazenby says, more of Jordan’s true self, his complex, almost bipolar personality. Jordan, we learn, driven by his hypercompetitiveness, could go from being a gracious person off the court to a vicious antagonist to teammates and opponents. As Jordan’s fame grew, Lazenby shows, he became its prisoner, and his isolation worsened after his father, Michael’s anchor in a world of sycophants, was murdered. Lazenby also digs into the rest of Jordan’s family, noting that Michael was estranged from the family for a time over a dispute between his then-wife, Juanita, and his mother. Lazenby’s resources include the vast printed Jordan library as well as interviews conducted recently, along with gleanings from the author’s years on the NBA beat. Readers who have immersed themselves in the Jordan “genre” will be familiar with much of what’s detailed here, but MJ’s life is a movie worth watching again, and Lazenby adds enough deleted scenes to add some oomph to the familiar story. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Interest in Jordan remains high, and this biography will be heavily promoted and is sure to receive coverage beyond both book pages and sports sections. --Wes Lukowsky


Praise for JERRY WEST

"A superior account of one of American sports' most compelling, complicated turns, smart, beautifully reported, well-written and psychologically shrewd....Where this book breaks fascinating new ground is in its exploration of West's tormented perfectionism." -- Los Angeles Times

"A thoughtful, serious biography of an athlete both blessed and cursed by talent and a competitive spirit." -- Booklist

"Lazenby managed to make sense of this complex man...West's career and life deserved a book like this. It's highly recommended." -- Slam Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 7281 KB
  • Print Length: 678 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 031619476X
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 6, 2014)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,074 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive! June 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The content itself is great. This issue here is how much you want to read about Jordan's ancestors and early life. I think some of the negative reviews I've read have overstated it, though. By about 15% into the book, you're already dealing with Jordan's high school (varsity) playing, and his recruitment to UNC. From there, the remaining 80-85% is lots of new tidbits about the life you already know: college, the NBA, and post-pro life.

If you're really looking to jump into an inside look at the parts of Jordan's life that you're already somewhat familiar with, skip the first 10-15%. That said, slogging through the early stuff makes the later stuff feel more satisfying.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty exhaustive look at Jordan's career August 13, 2014
Format:Audio CD
Lazenby was apparently able to roll together chapters from previous books about Michael and the Bulls together with new information into this comprehensive 700 page biography of the Greatest of All Time. It spans from Jordan's ancestry all the way to his caustic Hall of Fame acceptance speech and failures as Charlotte owner.

I grew up in the Jordan Era, had The Dunk on my wall, wore Nike everything, and watched Bulls games on NBC and WGN religiously. This book includes every anecdote and story I ever heard about MJ's early career-- pretty much anything that was ever put in print or on the air. Lazenby has exhaustively gone through public record; a weakness of the book is that he seems to lack personal access to Jordan over his 30 years of covering him. That is probably just as well, plenty of other journalists were close to Jordan and protected his secrets. But the depth of Jordan's relationships with others aren't explored, it is not an expose like The Jordan Rules was. But critics wrongly assail Lazenby on this point as Jordan does not open himself up to just anyone, and neither do those who know him well-- Jordan never forgets a slight and does not care to make amends. If Lazenby had been close to him, the book may well have been a promotional piece like Hang Time was.

The strength of this book is looking at Jordan's family tree beginning with his great grandfather, who came of age in the post-Civil War South. Speaking of him still brings tears to Jordan's eyes, the man was tough and relentless and Lazenby has the reader believe that his resolve runs through Jordan's DNA. Jordan's ancestors faced discrimination and hardship that helped mold his family into a unit and created opportunities for Jordan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When looking for this book, I noticed that the ... July 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When looking for this book, I noticed that the author had also wrote a book about the 1998 Bulls season: Blood on the Horns: The Long Strange Ride of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. I decided to read that one first. While I did expect some of the information to be the same, what I did not expect is that a lot of this new book is filled with the exact same sentences and paragraphs from the other. Word for word. Can you be guilty of plagiarism from your own work?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By hilary
Format:Kindle Edition
Honestly I never liked Michael Jordan. I respected his game and all but I just didn't like him. This book was an eye-opener for me though and was a really good read. I don't think I've ever read a book as info-packed about one specific athlete as this one, so I give the author a ton of credit for creating such a masterpiece.

It's not Bill Simmons funny or Bryant T. Jordan fun and challenging or even Jeff Pearlman entertaining but it is still a masterpiece and some of Roland Lazenby's best work.

Personally I wish the book was longer which is weird for me to say, but I do wish touched on Jordan's new wife and his relationship with his kids more and stuff like that ... of course, the author could release it again in 10 years as an updated version!!

All things considered, for the type of book it is I would give it a solid "A" and a 9.5 out of 10 stars!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having followed this enigmatic star's career with great interest since 1982 (my family is mostly from NC and are big Tarheel fans, as am I) this book contained a great deal of information that I had never heard. It is an unsparing, at times very unflattering, and "real" look at the player and the person behind. While I will always feel he was the world's greatest athlete, some of the traits that made him that (e.g., his insatiable need to WIN, his intolerance for teammates who were not talented or hard-working enough, his methods for weeding those teammates out, the grudges he hold, the imaginary slights he created to further motivate himself) were not desirable. That's what makes this exposition, and this person, so fascinating. A great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Michael Jordan: the Life gives a detailed look into the life of the greatest basketball player ever, from the perspective of Jordan's family, friends, coaches, peers, and even Michael himself. The details are wonderfully stitched together to paint a portrait of a complex, driven man - a basketball player, executive and, most importantly, a human being who, like everyone else, struggles to navigate through the ebb and flow of life.

This is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and impartial Michael Jordan biography I have read so far. A must-read for any Jordan fan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book about the greatest of all time
Published 23 days ago by Domenic White
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected more from the life of a legendary basketball star
I always hated that Michael Jordan beat my teams but ,I have to agree that he was the best in my times. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marco Estrella
4.0 out of 5 stars Jordan, the greatest to ever to play
Loved this book. It highlights the inception of Jordan and how he became who he is today. Jordan by far was the pioneer for athlete marketing, or at least the most successful. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brian S
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome book, goes into the behind the scenes details that I was wanting.
Published 2 months ago by chase davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Tells about Jordan's past including his Great-Grandfather. We learn that Jordan takes slights and remembers them for the next time he sees you.
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
The book offered some interesting insight into the life and events of many children's role model. Not the person the press made him to be, but still the best of all time.
Published 2 months ago by W. Todd Filer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A little too slow
Published 3 months ago by emanuela harker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed this book
Published 4 months ago by jean mckee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read for a Jordan fan. Blood on the Horns next!!
Published 4 months ago by Kenute C. Francis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Ervin L. Johnson
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More About the Author

Michael Jordan saved my life once. It was during the 1995 playoffs, Chicago vs. Charlotte, after a practice at the arena in Charlotte. He was walking out of the building with a group of reporters following. Walking backwards, I was leading the pack, with my tape recorder in his face, interviewing as we walked. I was a foot from walking off the loading dock at the back of the arena, about a 10 foot fall onto concrete, when he reached out and grabbed my arm to stop me from going over the edge.
So when I say that I have an interest in Jordan, I mean it.
I've written a new biography, Michael Jordan, The Life, set to be released by Little, Brown on May 6, 2014. His is a very big life, and the book was an immense challenge to write but oh so fascinating, as was the Jerry West bio I wrote in 2010 for ESPN Books/Random House.
I like to write about competitive personalities, especially those in the NBA. I like to write about their families. Among the zillion questions I had about MJ, I wanted to know where he came from, who the Jordans were. They were moonshiners, making and selling illegal liquor on North Carolina's Coastal Plain. So that's where his hard edge came from, I thought upon discovering who they were. Just about all the farmers and sharecroppers were moonshiners back in the day. That was their cash crop, the one that kept the family fed. They were tough-minded people, just like Jordan himself.
I've written a book that builds his life from that background. Starting at the beginning, with the birth of his great grandfather Dawson Jordan, allows me to take the reader through the process of his family, his background, and the nurturing of his vast competitive nature. What's more, it's immensely fun to track his rise. I enjoyed writing about the sharecroppers on North Carolina's Coastal Plain, just as I enjoyed writing about the coal miners and frontier settlers in Jerry West's background in West Virginia.
I see it as connecting all of the important cultural dots in the backgrounds of iconic figures.


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