Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made by David Halberstam
Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby
This week Michael Jordan turned 58 and let’s just say more than a few people asked me to recommend the best Michael Jordan book so here goes. I put the books above in the order of publication date, not in order of my favorite because the context for each book matters. The first “big time” book on Jordan was Sam Smith’s The Jordan Rules. The book chronicles the 1990-1991 Bulls season, which ended up being their first championship. When Smith pitched the book, he was rejected by EVERYONE. Publishers felt that Jordan hadn’t won anything yet so nobody would read it. Eventually, Smith found an agent and placed the book with a publisher and as luck would have it, the Bulls won the title that year. Good for Jordan. And good for Smith. The book that was rejected by 99% of publishers went on to sell over 200,000 copies. MJ wasn’t involved in any GOAT talk yet, so it’s a solid peak into early MJ stardom, despite the controversy it caused when Smith revealed some of Jordan’s questionable motivational tactics, like punching dudes sometimes (allegedly).
Halberstam’s book, Playing for Keeps, covers Jordan, the evolution of the NBA into the 80s and 90s and really gives an in depth look at the relationships that helped create Jordan and the league. Halberstam is a legend himself, so this book is about as well-written and well-executed as it gets.
But my favorite of all three is Roland Lazenby’s Michael Jordan. Lazenby breaks out the excavator on this one and digs deeeeeeep. The stories he uncovers from MJ’s days in high school, his college recruitment (like when he destroyed Patrick Ewing) and at UNC are worth the read alone… Then you get into all the incredible details about Jordan and Doug Collins and Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen and Space Jam and then his time in baseball and his comeback and beyond. It is a truly awesome book.
BONUS: One of my favorite Michael Jordan photos of all time is this one of him playing ping pong in a basement. The photo is great because Larry Bird is buzzed on the ground behind him with beer bottles and lil’ tikes toys strewn about.
How Chris Hemsworth's Stunt Double Beefed Up for the Biggest Thor Yet by Brett Williams
Every time a new Thor movie comes out the internet is flooded with “Chris Hemsworth’s new Thor workout” searches. People are continually fascinated with how massive he gets for the role and he’s said that for Thor 4, he wants to be the largest God of Thunder so far. But guess what, a celebrity getting jacked for a role is nothing new… Which is why when I saw this article on Hemsworth’s stunt double, and how he put on 22 pounds of muscle to play Thor, I was intrigued. It’s a good piece and dives into what it really takes to pack on that amount of lean beef.
EXCLUSIVE NEW BOOK COVER REVEAL
Many of you received my e-mail yesterday revealing the cover of my new book: ‘1996: A Biography - Reliving the Legend-Packed, Dynasty-Stacked, Most Iconic Sports Year Ever’. If you didn’t get it, you can read it here. But you can also check out the cover and book info right here as well.
I’m going to have a TON of cool promotions coming up for the book, but if you’re feeling antsy, you can pre-order it right here and I’ll be forever grateful.
KICK ASS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” - Booker T. Washington
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