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The Jordan Rules Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

New York Newsday An engaging, sometimes cruelly funny behind-the-scenes look at the Bulls' tantrum-and doubt-filled but finally triumphant journey to the NBA title.

Chicago Sun-Times The Jordan Rules...might be the best sports book since Season on the Brink about Bob Knight.

Newsweek Jordan boasts a wicked tongue, and not just when it's hanging out as he dunks....[He] manages to blurt out enough in Smith's book to reveal his own narcissistic, trash-talking, obsessively competitive side.

Associated Press The Jordan Rules entertains throughout, but the most fun comes from just hanging out with the players. Smith takes us into the locker room, aboard the team plane and team bus, and seats us on the bench during games. Sometimes, books reflecting on a team's success don't reach the personal level with the people who made it happen: The Jordan Rules does.

Fred Barnes (The McLaughlin Group) The American Spectator A riveting account...what you want in a sports book: the behind-the-scenes stuff, a peek at the private side of the players, their hobbies and politics and religion, the way they get along or don't...It's fair to compare The Jordan Rules with the campaign books that appear after every presidential race....The difference is not only that The Jordan Rules explains more persuasively than most of the campaign chronicles how the winner was decided -- it's that it does so more interestingly and with more understanding of the human heart.

About the Author

Sam Smith was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune during the Chicago Bulls' 1991 championship season. He is a Brooklyn, New York, native with degrees in accounting from Pace University and in journalism from Ball State University. He has worked for Arthur Young and Co., the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, and States News Service in Washington, D.C. This is his first book.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671796666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671796662
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on August 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With "The Jordan Rules," Sam Smith proves why he is one of the very best sportswriters in America. The book follows Jordan and the Bulls during their first championship season (1990-1991), before Jordan established himself as the most successful NBA player (in terms of championships) since Bill Russell. What is largely forgotten today is that in his first six years in the NBA was thought of as a selfish ballplayer who would never win a championship because he was not a "team player." Enter coach Phil Jackson, who in his first year would manage to convince his star player that in order for his team to win the championship, he would need to rely more on his teammates.
Great sports books are usually the case of the right writer (Smith in this case) being in a position to cover the right story at just the right time (Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" is another example). That is certainly the case here. As a sports reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Smith had plenty of access to the team during that first championship run, and he interviewed all of the principals extensively. Fortunately, Smith pulls no punches. The book's title refers to the preferential treatment afforded to Jordan that was a constant source of irritation to his teammmates. Then-Bulls Center Bill Cartwright, for example, is memorably qoted as saying that Jordan is, "Maybe the greatest athelete ever to play any sport...He's just not a basketball player."
Overall, "The Jordan Rules" is that rare sports book that transcends the particular sport it covers and can be enjoyed by any sports fan.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the great books that I had a hard time putting down. Sam Smith plays with our intrigue and wins out, enticing us to keep reading as we ask, "Did Isaiah Thomas really say that?" or "How did the Bulls stand together when at least half the team was demanding trades in 1991?"

We see them as if we were a part of the team.

*Hopson weeping after the 1991 title due to a fleeting feeling of comradely.

* Michael Jordan's off-the-court feud with Isaiah Thomas.

*Pippen demanding to be traded due to contract negotiations.

* Jerry "Crums" Krause being ridiculed publicly by Jordan and his brown-nosing cronies.

* Alliances forged through empathetic teammates who viewed the team's other pockets of faction with distrusting, and sometimes vengeful eyes.

* Cliff Levingston's constant butt-kissing of "His Airness".

* Horace Grant physically standing up to Jordan in practice and bragging about it later.

* Scottie Pippen's inward fear of Dennis Rodman.

* Phil Jackson's craving to buy a gun after a private meeting with a then-psychotic Scott Williams.

* The Pistons' mental control of B.J. Armstrong, Scottie Pippen, and others.

* Stacey King and Michael Jordan's verbal wars.

* Literal fist fights between certain players in practice.

* Jordan's constant campaign to assume control of the team's decision-making processes and how Phil Jackson combated his egocentric, and often enigmatic star.

A priviledged look into the makings of one of sports' greatest teams ever, and a eye-opening look into the makings of sports' greatest hero.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book despite all the negative feedback about the Jordan bashing. It wasn't just bashing MJ. A lot of Bulls came off as whining brats, complaint about money and playing time. I'm not naive even to think that it doesn't happen, but this book focused on it too much. It was annoying at times. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. But, hey, I finally read it and can check it off my bucket list.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A detailed, journal like retelling of the Chicago Bulls 1991 championship season, their first of six in the 90s.

This was controversial because it gave a rare glimpse of Michael Jordan outside of a Nike commercial or NBA promotional video. And indeed, while there's plenty of drama to go around, Jordan comes off the worst, seeming selfish and mean spirited to his teammates. In the end (spoilers are hardly worth warning about in this book), he and the team come together and beat both the hated Pistons and the Lakers, but for kids growing up idolizing Jordan, these stories serve to shatter a well crafted image.

At the time, there were some denials by Jordan and some of the other players (Stacey King, who perhaps comes off worse than Jordan in places, compared it to "Mother Goose") but for me, these stories seem to ring true. The stories in here aren't that unbelievable, or uncommon in sports. Books like this serve to undo the narrative that we as fans (often with a willing press) build in our own heads, with our team, bearing our hometown's name and a distinctive logo as the good guys. The truth is that teams are made of individuals, human ones, some who if we met we'd like, and some we wouldn't. They have their own lives and concerns, and more often than not simply don't go through the vicarious identification we as fans do. It's easy to see why journalists, in private talk, tend to root for players they like instead of teams.

Sam Smith clearly has his favorites, the hard working Paxson, the beleaguered Cartwright. The weakness is that the book often reads more like a collection of anecdotes than a full narrative, with often awkward writing (as another mentioned, comparing Chuck Daly's sideline antics to Fred Astaire, then Bobby Knight).
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