ONE LAST SHOT: The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback

Mitch Krugel, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-30354-9

As the author of two previous books on basketball legend Jordan, sportswriter Krugel (Michael Jordan: A Biography) has shown himself to be perhaps the most knowledgeable current observer of the life and times of the basketball great. This third look focuses on "the drama within Michael Jordan's Third Coming," when the superstar came out of his second not-so-happy retirement in 2000 to become president of operations for the Washington Wizards, and his subsequent return in 2001 to the court as a player. For fans of Jordan as well as anyone who loved basketball during the 1990s, when Jordan's Chicago Bulls won six championships, this is an insightful depiction of Jordan's attempt "to recapture that endorphin of being the ultimate winner" in a new era. Krugel has done his homework, offering insider reports with much new information on Jordan's initial negotiations with the Wizards and his super-secret preseason practices. The author also presents excellent accounts of key games and even includes an appendix featuring a game-by-game review of Jordan's 2001–2002 season. But Krugel's access and insight also unintentionally produce some of the book's problems: while Krugel deftly analyzes Jordan's desire to be the sole arbiter of what will be his "last shot"—not the sports media world—his attempts to present the inner world of Jordan's comeback year are too often uncritical and awkward ("Something about pain attracted Michael, even tempted him"). Overall, this is an excellent look at an aging superstar's struggle "to find other places besides the basketball court to define his worth." (Nov.)

Forecast:Jordan's continuing popularity will assist the book's sales, which will be further helped if Jordan again takes to the court this coming basketball season, as is now being rumored.

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
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