cover image Michael Jordan: The Life

Michael Jordan: The Life

Roland Lazenby. Little, Brown, $30 (720p) ISBN 978-0-316-19477-8

Michael Jordan’s role as handsome pitchman/basketball champion belies a complicated life in this hefty, revelatory biography by veteran basketball author Lazenby (Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon). Nearly branded a lost cause by his parents, Jordan turned his passion for hoops into a furious work ethic that included not stopping one-on-one games until he won and catching an early morning ride with his high school coach to the gym before school. As Jordan’s fame grew—hitting the game-winning shot for the University of North Carolina in the 1982 NCCA Championship, reviving the Chicago Bulls with his aerial artistry, winning six NBA titles—his world grew into a turbulent fishbowl. Fame became so overwhelming that he limited his circle of friends to a select few; his family, torn apart by accusations and bad business decisions, became irritants. The search for competition was almost toxic: he created feuds with players to elevate his game. And his corrosive relationship with Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, a blunt personality, helped hasten the break-up of a dynasty. Lazenby’s work isn’t definitive—Jordan, after all, is still alive—but it yields a fascinating examination into the lonely, prideful man behind the glimmering icon. (May)