Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Michael Jordan The Life by Roland Lazenby

MJ.  His Airness.  Jordan Air.  Michael Jordan is arguably, the best basketball player that has ever laced up his shoes.  Fans all have favorite memories; his game-winning basket for the national title at UNC, the flu game, the jams, the high scores.  He is one of the most easily identifiable individuals in the world as his fame spread past the courts to advertising and the movies.  But who is this man?

Roland Lazenby has written a memoir biography of Michael Jordan.  He takes the reader through his childhood and the family structure and issues.  Jordan's time at the University of North Carolina and his relationship with coach Dean Smith is covered in depth as the reader learns how Jordan improved his game.  His time with the Chicago Bulls led to a long run as world champions and the reader sees how the offense set up there was perfect for Jordan both to shine as an individual and as a teammate.  His relationship with his teammates and his coaches is covered in detail, both during the good years and as the team came apart through player-management issues.

But this is not just a tribute book.  Jordan's negative influences are also covered. The family issues and conflicts were a spur to Jordan.  His competitive drive also led to gambling.  Of course, few can forget the murder of his father and how that affected Jordan, leading to him leaving basketball for two years and trying to become a professional baseball player.  The fact that Jordan's intense competitive drive made him less than supportive of teammates that weren't as talented or who didn't work as hard.  Jordan was a master trash-talker and rode others mercilessly when they didn't measure up to his standards.

At the end of the book, the reader is left with a complete picture of this complicated man.  Leaders are honored and adored, but few really understand the drive it takes to be the best.  To spur others to achieve greatness, often leaders are less than kind and often even cruel, and that is also a part of leadership.  Jordan has great athletic talent, an incredible energy and drive for success, loyalty to those he trusts, and has given the world moments that will always be remembered.  At our core, we all want 'to be like Mike'.  This book is recommended for sports fans and those interested in reading about how one individual finds the drive to compete and excel, until they are the best in the world.

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