Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2011
Michael Jordan is fascinating to think about. He was at one time the world's most famous person, and surprisingly he seemed to deserve all that fame, money, and recognition. He dominated a sport like no one had dominated anything before him, and he displayed amazing self-control in keeping his private life out of the news (except for a minor gambling problem). As David Halberstam shows in this Jordan biography, he is not so fascinating to read about.
Michael Jordan is an extremely focused, disciplined, and competitive individual. He wanted to win, and he only cared about winning. He worked harder than everyone else in basketball, and he wanted the championships more than anyone else in basketball. This (and that minor thing about his superb athletic ability) assured his ascent in basketball. There was only one setback in Jordan's remarkable career (the murder of his father), and so Jordan's biography does not make for an interesting read.
Halberstam wisely parallels Jordan's rise with the NBA's rise. Jordan was the man of the moment because the NBA badly needed a man of the moment. Jordan's ascent also propelled Nike, the Chicago Bulls, Jordan's teammates and coach into the stratosphere.
The major problem with the book is that it's too much hagiography. Halberstam is in complete awe of Jordan, a state of mind made possible in that Halberstam could not interview Jordan for this book.