978-0-224-06115-5 / 9780224061155

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made


Publisher:Yellow Jersey Press



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About the book:

Back in the Fall of 1993, When Michael Jordan first told his teammates he was leaving (basketball) Armstrong told him, "Man, you now have the two scariest things imaginable: all the money in the world and all the time in the world."

No.23 took the game of basketball and made it his own. Between 1991 and his retirement in 1999 the six times NBA Championship-winning Chicago Bulls were Michael Jordan. On the way he became the richest, most globally famous sports star since Muhammad Ali.

In Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Halberstam--a consistently intelligent and articulate explorer of America's sporting history--turns a critical eye on the big fella, and gauges the impact Jordan had on his sport and an increasingly American-flavoured world.

Halberstam looks beyond the court at the business of basketball--the iniquities of the franchise system; the overwhelming financial power of being the top man; the fragility of that position--and places Jordan at the centre of a commercial revolution that outgrew the game and sport itself. Basketball became the sport that tied American urban culture, Afro-American street style and hip-hop beats to the billion-dollar multi-national mule train. Coke, Big Macs and B-Ball--Jordan was the public face of each.

But Playing for Keeps is equally strong on the personalities behind the power plays--in interviews with Jordan's family and fellow "players" on and off the court, Halberstam keeps his journalistic sense in the illusion-rich atmosphere of the big game and more often than not gets the goods. The section on Jordan's first "retirement" in 1993, when, accused of gambling, he turned his attention to playing pro-baseball, is particularly revealing.

This is a fascinating, subtly-crafted work which climbs high above the usual weary trawls through the careers of sports celebrities, and slam dunks in style.--Alex Hankin

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