From Publishers Weekly
After serving as president and part owner of the Washington Wizards for two years, Jordan, bored by his executive duties and frustrated by the team's poor play, returned to the court in 2001 in a bid to revitalize the struggling basketball franchise. But the aging superstar's attempt to resurrect the team flopped as the Wizards failed to make the playoffs in either of Jordan's two playing seasons. While the highs and lows of Jordan's comeback are known to most basketball fans, Leahy, a Washington Post
feature writer who covered Jordan's return, offers an in-depth look at the inner turmoil that plagued the Jordan-led Wizards. In a smartly written, often angry work that is as much a sports story as a psychology study and condemnation of the media that built up the Jordan myth, Leahy not only documents Jordan's performance on the floor, but examines what motivated him to play despite serious knee problems. Leahy also deals with the role sportswriters (he makes it clear he isn't one) play in building America's athletes into godlike characters, a practice he abhors. Leahy has no use for idol worship and casts all three of the book's main figures—Jordan, coach Doug Collins and majority owner Abe Pollin—in unfavorable lights. This engaging read is marred by one flaw: Leahy's tendency to insert himself into the story.
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Michael Jordan may have been the greatest basketball player ever to lace 'em up, but he has not always been a likable man. At 38, three years retired from his championship run in Chicago, Jordan was serving as president of the Washington Wizards when he decided to join the team as a player. Washington Post
staffer Leahy observed it all, from the triumphs--now and then MJ did seem to be an ageless wonder--to the very ugly moments of humiliated coaches and teammates who did not measure up to Jordan's personal standard of excellence and acquiescence. This is not a pretty portrayal of Jordan, but it is consistent with the assessment of his strengths and weaknesses offered by Sam Smith in The Jordan Rules
(1991). If anything, this account is tinged with melancholy in its portrayal of the alpha male finally being exiled from the herd. This is an intelligent, persuasively written account of an athlete who remains one of our most recognizable celebrities. Expect the phone lines to be buzzing on the sports talk shows. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved