Book Review: Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby
“In Miami’s first home playoff game ever, it was clacker night,” recalled Bulls broadcaster Tom Dore. “What they said was, any time Michael gets the ball or shoots a free throw, go nuts with those clackers. Make all kinds of noise. Well, it worked in the first quarter. The Heat had a big lead. And in fact, we were wondering, ‘Can the Bulls come back from this?’ And Michael stopped by the broadcast table and looked at Johnny Kerr and me and said, ‘Here we come.’ That’s all he said. Boy did he ever. He went absolutely berserk, scored 56 points and the Bulls won, swept the series.”
There are a lot of Michael Jordan books out there. And if you’re an MJ fan — like me — you’ll probably read a few of them. The Life is the best non-autobiography thus far.
The Life starts from the beginning with MJ’s ancestors in the post-slavery days through Mike’s grandparents and his parents’ rearing of their children (this was the boring part). The best part of this section is that Roland Lazenby’s detail primed me to expect the same by the time we got around to Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls.
He did not disappoint.
Lazenby covers every season of Jordan’s career — the big games, the conflicts with management, his bullying of teammates, struggles to carry his team while they struggled to meet his standards, the celebrity that became a self-made prison, the Nike deal that almost never was, the dirty details of what really happened with the Washington Wizards… Basically everything any MJ fan would want to read about, in detail.
I don’t need to sell you on the idea of a Michael Jordan book. If you’re a fan you’ll read this and learn a lot from it. Outside of the books MJ wrote himself, this is as good as it gets.