Michael Jordan may be the best to ever play this game and is one of the most unanimously respected and likable athletes of all time, but the Michael away from the cameras and inside the locker rooms was a slightly different person from what the ad agencies had so perfectly painted.
At the prime of Michael’s career, Sam Smith’s The Jordan Rules was the book that shed much light on what actually happened behind the scenes of Chicago’s great run in the 90’s. Mike hates Isaiah! Horace hates Mike! Scottie demands a trade! The trash talking! The fights! The Egos! The politics of basketball! And if you were a kid in Mrs. Riley’s 7th grade English Lit class reading books for research for your presentation during Heroes Week, then it shook up your perceptions as to who that man really was whose posters adorned your bedroom walls.
I’ve since re-read this book and what I can attest is that Sam Smith officially made me a fan of the game. It was one thing as a kid growing up idolizing Mike as we all did, but then you realize that there is an entire world that happens behind the games you watch on TV, which is even more fascinating. That point, I believe, is the point you become a fan. Or better still, you appreciate it. You appreciate what the Bulls did even more because of all their flaws. It’s that moment when the spectator becomes less fixated on the plays and more on the players and the staff and the dynamics which mold that team together.
This book made me appreciate basketball the same way Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls made me appreciate filmmaking and the way the 33⅓ series makes you appreciate music.
Celebrate the birthday of His Airness proper by purchasing/reading this book if you haven’t already.