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Hardcover Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made Book

ISBN: 0679415629

ISBN13: 9780679415626

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes "the best Jordan book so far" (The Washington Post), the story of Michael Jordan's legendary years with the Chicago Bulls,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Best Sports Book Written

Quite simply the best book about sports written. Halberstam manages to captures the intensity of Jordan's drive, which permitted him to establish himself as the greatest basketball player of all-time; while, keeping an eye on the forces which allowed him to become an international icon. This is not merely a book which focuses on the greatness of Jordan; although, it does that. What Halberstam does even better is capture and capsulize the events and influences that assisted in making Jordan the figure he became. What separates Halberstam from other sports' historians is his detailed attention to, and superb research of the supporting cast and societal influences. Markedly as interesting as the continual rise and perfection of Jordan's own career are the other cultural and societal phenomenons, which simultaneously converged to elevate Jordan's career and change the culture of basketball and other professional sports. For instance, Halberstam fully develops the emergence of ESPN as a cultural and societal change. Not only did the coinciding emergence of ESPN influence and shape Jordan's career, but it changed the way popular America approached sports and reshaped the perception of American athletes. For better or worse, ESPN has changed athletes from mere sports heros into rock-stars. As interesting is the development of sports' agents and their influence on the players, and the resulting players' attitudes influence on the games that they play and we watch; not to mention, the evolution of Nike from merely a successful shoe company into a ubiquitous marketing presence. And as interesting as the symbiotic societal developments are the stories of Jordan's supporting cast. Halberstam spends nearly equal time telling the individual stories of Jordan's supporting cast, who in-turn had a role in shaping the Michael Jordan that emerged. Absolutely fascinating is the tale of Jerry Krause and Jerry Reinsdorf and how their greed, envy and egos not only contributed to creating six world championships, but similarly destroyed the team they created. The light is shown on Jordan's teammates from high-school through the end of his career. We are treated to intimate tales of their relationships and interaction with Jordan, as well as the result that was produced. In particular, Halberstam's treatment of Jordan's high school career and the North Carolina mystique is worth the price of purchase alone. All of the role-players from Jordan's championship teams (including Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, and Ron Harper) are discussed and introduced from an intensely human perspective. This book is not only a must read for Michael Jordan and basketball fans, but fans of history who are interested in the societal and cultural developments that arose, from 1983-1998, out of un-equaled career of Michael Jordan and the rise in the international popularity of basketball.


If you're a MJ or basketball fan, this book is a must buy. It is arguably the best book I have ever read. It takes on the tone of a fictional tale and keeps you reading. Some moments are truly inspirational, a great tribute to the greatest athlete of all time.

If you like Michael Jordan, you'll love this book

Out of the many, many, many Michael Jordan books out there, this is by far the best. David Halberstam does a great job not just capturing Jordan's life and career on paper, but the many people who were involved, such as Spike Lee, Jerry Krause, David Stern, and others. "PFK" is loaded with stories from Jordan's Carolina days, and obviously, his career with the Bulls. I think the best chapter in the book is the chapter which tells the story of a fabled scrimmage game at a Dream Team practice. That chapter was so good, they featured an illustrated version in a past issue of "ESPN Magazine". This chapter, and the entire book really shows the VERY competitve nature of Mr. Michael Jeffery Jordan, and I highly recommend this book to any MJ fan, or really any basketball fan, because as I mentioned above, this book goes above and beyond just Jordan, and is well worth the read.

Best Big Picture Yet on Michael Jordan

After reading this book, I can't agree with the other opinions that "it's all been told before". I think it's told more broadly and better by Halberstam who admires MJ very much and it's obvious why. Very little on the private side of MJ, only a paragraph on his wife and family. No attempt by Halberstam to destroy the hero that MJ is as he covers his reluctance to risk damaging his marketability by speaking out on social issues and the negative characterizations contained in Smith's The Jordan Rules (which I didn't think were that negative when you considered where MJ was coming from). Gambling cronies were a stain that MJ overcame and offshore Nike factories an issue that any endorser must deal with in these days of globalization. Great portraits of Jackson, Krause, Dean Smith, David Stern, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Pippen, Horace Grant, David Falk and the rise of big time agents and big time Nike and NBA contracts and spoiled young players. MJ's odyssey into baseball was a brave and wonderful thing which made MJ a more mature and appreciative person. Some sympathy for the devil in the portrayal of Jerry Krause, I thought. Would like to have seen Michael's mom and dad fleshed out a little further but how much can you cram into 400 pages? All in all a well balanced, fair minded book. Wish there was an index, though and how could only one paragraph describe MJ's great "flu" game?

Anyone scoring less than 4, go back to reading the tabloids

This is a well researched, well written book on sports and the "Jordan" era. I don't feel Halberstam missed anything in the way of information and commentary on the game. Not being an avid basketball fan, I learned a great deal about professional sports and the pursuit of excellence. Too bad for those who came away from this read without gaining any insight into what it takes to be great. The author is a true investigative reporter, intelligent and thorough. Unfortunately, today all it takes to be thought of as great is the right "look" and a flare for writing tabloid type articles.
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