It's not easy imagining a volume capable of capturing the grace, the joy, the flamboyance, and the wizardry of Michael Jordan, but this hybrid--melding autobiography, celebration, spectacular photography, and cutting-edge graphics--comes awfully close. Like Jordan driving the lane, it's a thing of beauty; harder to analyze than it is to admire, accept, gaze at, and enjoy.
As befits the ultimate star in a game that has marketed itself with perfect razzle-dazzle, For the Love of the Game is as visually brash as it is glitzy. In page after stunning page, Jordan traces his ascension from college star to object of worldwide adoration. While most of the focus is, of course, on the NBA, there are significant side trips into baseball, the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, his advertising omnipresence, his family, and even his privacy. On the surface, the pictures--and their presentation--are more than enough to preserve and praise the Jordan legend, but For the Love of the Game has something more. It has Michael Jordan.
Jordan's text is everything the flashy images are not; it is straight, thoughtful, and revealing. At times, the relationship of word and image is breathtaking, especially on a particular pair of two-page layouts. In the first, Jordan asks, "When does jumping become flying?" His answer, framed by photos that would turn Superman green with envy, indicates that Jordan is genuinely amazed by his own talents. The second is his reflection on "The Shot," his buzzer-beater over Cleveland's Craig Ehlo to win game 5 in the 1989 playoffs. The story is told in 24 pictures taken over the final three seconds. Below that is a chart of 25 of Jordan's game-winning shots. But it's this Jordan observation that pulls the image and text together: "I never considered the negative consequence of missing the last shot in a game." It's an attitude that defines the man, and For the Love of the Game reflects it with a stylish combination of elegance, power, and beauty. (Want more Jordan? Check out an image from his book. © 1998 by Rare Air, Ltd. Text copyright © 1998 by Michael Jordan. Photo credit: Walter Iooss, Jr) --Jeff Silverman [via]