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The Jordan Rules
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on February 13, 2017
In the spring of 1990, the Chicago Bulls fell to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA playoffs for the third consecutive season. But the Bulls had their strongest team ever going into the 1990-91 campaign and were looking to get over their past playoff failures and claim their elusive first championship. Sam Smith chronicles how the club attained its long-sought goal that year in "The Jordan Rules."

Smith profiles coach Phil Jackson, superstar Michael Jordan, and the rest of the key players on the team throughout his account of the long campaign. The author notes some of the moves that the Bulls did and did not make to build their title team. Those who remember this book coming out in the winter of 1992 recall that most of the commentary about "The Jordan Rules" back then focused on Jordan's mistreatment of his teammates, and some of the vignettes on that score are indeed worse than just normal razzing.

The 1991 Bulls were a great team but went through the inevitable rough patches during the season. Smith recalls the conflicts over the triangle offense and the infighting and dissension that went on, but the Bulls came together for the playoffs, finally having the mental strength to get over the Pistons hurdle and then to beat the aging Lakers in the Finals. While "The Jordan Rules" is most famous for its lurid aspects, Smith's account is a good retrospective on the entirety of the Bulls' breakthrough season.
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on August 5, 2016
A very interesting book to read nearly 25 years after it was written. This book was a page turner for me as I grew up watching these Bulls teams while starting to pick up basketball. This was an insider's view and a great piece of sports journalism, how different this era is now.

Reading this book made me realize how much Sam Smith wanted to write Breaks of the Game 2. The way the characters are laid out and what goes on in their lives is almost a carbon copy of David Halberstam. I would have gave this 5 stars if I hadn't read the classic by Halberstam. People will be more drawn to this because of Jordan, but do yourself a favor if you read this to go back and read Breaks of the Game.
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on June 17, 2017
The alternative title could have been, "Why, Yes, Michael Jordan Really Was An Unpleasant Teammate." It's also a fascinating glimpse of Phil Jackson before he became the Zen Master, as it seems as if he was barely holding on to the reins of the team; and, even then, liked to play little mind games. It's crazy that they managed to be cohesive enough to be as successful as they were.
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on September 23, 2014
Good view of the backstage of the first Bulls championship. Fun to read in retrospect after all that happened afterwards. The digital edition brings an interesting afterword written more recently. At times it may become a little boring on the game by game of the regular season. It is very interesting to read the doubtful and slow transformation that Jordan has - or tries to have - from an individual to a team player, and the role that Phil Jackson had on it. Probably my main discovery was about the smart personality of Jackson, it will probably get me to "Eleven Rings".
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on January 21, 2013
I have been reading the book Jordan Rules. Jordan Rules is a book about the Chicago Bulls team over the Michael Jordan era. It gives great insight to the player widely accepted as the greatest ever, Michael Jordan. There were dark secrets revealed about him, about he was a jerk in the locker room, how he insulted his teammates and didn't pass to them. There are little stories about most of the other players, such as Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxon, John Hopson, Will Perdue, and Bill Cartwright. There are also stories about the staff, like Phil Jackson, Jerry Krause, and Billy Reinsdorf, the owner. Michael Jordan wasn't the perfect guy, he was kind of mean, none of his teammates really liked him. One of the stories that I really enjoyed was about John Paxon, on how he was the most underpaid starting point guard in the lauge, but he still somehow hung in there, deferred to Jordan and played some gritty defense. I loved this book, it is great for basketball fans of all ages.
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on October 14, 2014
The writing is not exactly Hemingway (as most sports books are written by sportswriters, including this one) but the story told and the incredible level of access that Sam Smith was granted is unparalled. I can't imagine anybody being closer to a team and thus being able to include so many of players' and coaches' thoughts, words, and actions behind the scenes. The beginning of the book is a little too focused on Sam Smith and his relationship with Jordan (and how that relationship changed after the book came out) but once the story really gets rolling it is hard to put down. Highly recommended for any sports fan with even a passing interest in the NBA and Michael Jordan. Hardcore NBA fans and Jordan aficionados will likely be even more fascinated. I certainly was.
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on April 10, 2013
Bolstered by dozens of primary sources and author experiences, this book provides a naked and often raw look into the team dynamic of the Chicago Bulls and legend of Michael Jordan during their first championship run. The intimate account is largely entertaining and light but occasionally is bogged down by the cacophony of subplots, back stories and strained metaphors.

If you have a strong interest in Michael Jordan and are willing to accept the premise that he was flawed as both a person and a teammate (blasphemy for some), then you will enjoy this book's insight and honesty.
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on May 11, 2014
If you wanna know how MJ became a champion, this is it. Starting from the bust ups, the player insecurities, the arrival of Big Phil, its all put together very neatly to show the journey of the bulls of that season. Excellent write up and the reader gets some amazing insights into the bulls franchise and the NBA of that era. The various psychological aspects of the players, coaches, managers...their need for money...hunger for success...fears of being traded...we tend to think of athletes like they are from a different planet. but they all are really human, even MJ. Yes, even MJ. And this book shows you how,
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on October 31, 2017
The only non 5 star part of the book is the amount of details it puts to describe the ongoing games.
The backstage stuff is awesome to understand players interaction to each other and to managers and the league itself.
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on February 13, 2015
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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