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am 8. Juni 2011
Ein sehr gut recherchiertes Buch über den Ausnahmebasketballer Michael Jordan, in dem nicht nur seine sportlichen Erfolge betrachtet werden, sondern auch der Einfluss auf die NBA, Nike, Chicago und vieles mehr beschrieben wird.
Das Buch liest sich flüssig und ist nicht nur für Englisch-Experten geeignet.
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am 21. Februar 2000
I am a keen admirer of Halberstam, especially his sports books. In fact, I think "Breaks of the Game" is the best book ever written on the NBA. Perhaps that raised my expectations for this book to unreasonable levels. But I don't think so.
Halberstam still has many enjoyable anecdotes to share, and some readers may find them worth the price. But, as others have noted, Jordan would not sit for an interview, and that, for this book, is a killer. Because, in the end, there is nothing in the way of review or analysis that hasn't been presented elsewhere, nor is this effort particularly well written -- it has none of Halberstam's signature insights -- or edited. It feels something of a clip-and-paste job.
Sadly, the most interesting part is Halberstam's author's note, at the end of the book. He discusses his own reluctance to do it -- raising the same issues as reviewers here touch on (he'd done his NBA book; was another Jordan book needed? the need to write it quickly, etc.) -- and then adds that he thought he'd have Jordan's input, even if it were limited to a couple of days of interviews. When Jordan apparently reversed himself, it was presumably too late. The best Halberstam can say is that Jordan never told his close friends not to speak with Halberstam. That's where many of the anecdotes come from.
Just to be straight with readers, the author's note ought to have been put up front, to alert browsers about what they could expect.
And to Dan La Batard of ESPN, who was quoted on the jacket that this is the best book he's ever read about sports, a word of advice: You should read more. Some of Halberstam's OTHER sports book, for starters...
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am 13. Februar 2000
After reading this book, I can't agree with the other opinions that "it's all been told before". I think it's told more broadly and better by Halberstam who admires MJ very much and it's obvious why. Very little on the private side of MJ, only a paragraph on his wife and family. No attempt by Halberstam to destroy the hero that MJ is as he covers his reluctance to risk damaging his marketability by speaking out on social issues and the negative characterizations contained in Smith's The Jordan Rules (which I didn't think were that negative when you considered where MJ was coming from). Gambling cronies were a stain that MJ overcame and offshore Nike factories an issue that any endorser must deal with in these days of globalization. Great portraits of Jackson, Krause, Dean Smith, David Stern, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Pippen, Horace Grant, David Falk and the rise of big time agents and big time Nike and NBA contracts and spoiled young players. MJ's odyssey into baseball was a brave and wonderful thing which made MJ a more mature and appreciative person. Some sympathy for the devil in the portrayal of Jerry Krause, I thought. Would like to have seen Michael's mom and dad fleshed out a little further but how much can you cram into 400 pages? All in all a well balanced, fair minded book. Wish there was an index, though and how could only one paragraph describe MJ's great "flu" game?
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am 11. Mai 1999
A message to the reader who claims that Jordan is all hype.
Michel Jordan, an overated player who has won 6 championships, won two gold medals, was once calimed the best defensive player, three all-star MVP's the list goes on and on. Overated I don't think so, overachiever may be.
What about Dr J, Majic Johnson and Bird?
First of all, all respect to those guys who were great players in their time. In particular Dr J who broke new ground with his creativity and athletism, however neither him or the others are classified as complete players. Neither Bird or Magic deserve to be the same sentence as Michael Jordan when it comes to competitive drive, determination, creativity, athletism, concentration, the ability to take control of a game anytime, or the ability to take the last second shot and hit them so consistanly. Dr J and Michael are in a league of their own, Bird, Majic and Isiah deserve to be in the same group.
As for the push offs and fouls well I not sure which game you were watching but if you take the time and watch the game closely you will find that it is a strategy used by almost every player (Reggie Miller is an excellent example, game 4 of the Indiana and Bulls series 1998)
It seems to me that you are now cluthing at straws when you start to talk about the fouls he got away with. You are talking about the greatest player of our time. A player who had specific rules set to bring him down (Jordan Rules, Pistons).
Before you start making wild accusations about Jordan not being able to win a championship without Horace or Rodman giving examples or stating fact would provide your argument to have some sort of scope and legitamacy. Horace and Rodman are known as role players in the team. Everyone in the Bulls are given roles, even the great Michael Jordan. It would be easy to say look at Majic( who had Kareem, Scoot, Worthy, Cooper)but there is no need to go there is point is made, basketball is a team sport.
Fact: Michael had to sacrifice his scoring abilities inorder to fit into Phil Jackson's coaching philisophy, which placed it's emphasis on playing as a Team. Michael would be the first to tell you this.
Fact: Michael the greatest player to play the game and the reason why the Media love him is simply because he has success on and off the court, personality is not something one can buy or teach which is unfortunate for Bird. While Majie may have the personality he lacks the competitive drive that and determination to win (Game 5 of the final series against Utah in 1997, the best game by an individual player in the history of the NBA.
All hype, I don't thinks so, the greatest player to ever lace on a pair of basketball shoes has left us with something that could only be described as Magical. Advice to you, look beyond the what happens on court, look beyond the way he plays the game of basketball, look at how he plays the game of life. Micahel Jordan the complete player.
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am 18. Februar 1999
In "Playing For Keeps," David Halberstam tries to shed light on the character of Michael Jordan. On balance, he fails. Somewhere in the middle, the book becomes a descriptive laundry list of Michael Jordan's accomplishments. Any attempt to analyze Michael Jordan the person or his domination of American culture disappears. Mr. Halberstam succeeds though in examining the early part of Jordan's life. His family was strikingly middle class in outlook. His father, James Jordan, was a retired Air Force mechanic and then later a mechanic at General Electric. His mother wanted to see all of her children excel--not just succeed. Yet, in all the reporting about Michael's relationship with his father, we learn little about Mrs. Jordan. It is never clear whether theirs was a good marriage and what effect their relationship had on young Michael Jordan. Halberstam, at times, gets good tidbits of information. First, Michael learned to play with his tongue sticking out as a child. He imitated his father who would work on machines with his tongue sticking out. Second, had Larry Jordan, Michael's older brother, grown past 5'9" he would be an NBA star too. Their sibling rivalry was intense and, at times, brutal. With Larry, Halberstam allows us to see flashes of a future, intensely competitive, Michael Jordan. The most critical and significant contribution Halberstam makes is explaining Jordan's rise to greatness. Yes, he was cut from his high school basketball team because he was considered too short for the varsity. That was his last professional setback besides a year playing minor league baseball. That same year, however, the junior varsity team drew larger crowds than the varsity. By his senior year, few knew about Jordan on the national stage. In the cozy basketball world of North Carolina, however, Jordan's potential was recognized by "the powers that be." He was a scout's dream. Slowly but surely invitations to one prestigious basketball camp after another arrived. After a camp at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith and his lackeys worked feverishly to keep Jordan hidden. They did not want other scouts discovering him. What Dean Smith did for Michael Jordan was remarkable. He never let Jordan's potential greatness get to his head. Even before Jordan's freshman season started, Sports Illustrated wanted to profile the team. Smith, believing that Jordan had done nothing to deserve the cover, deliberately kept him off. We can safely assume that's the last time Michael Jordan was kept off a magazine cover involuntarily. But the basketball program at North Carolina perhaps most contributed to Jordan's greatness as a person and a player. Jordan was eminently coachable, he had a work ethic unlike any other Smith had ever seen, and he had extraordinary athletic talent and a natural feel for the game of basketball. Halberstam presents Jordan's finest and, at times, most unseemly quality--his intense desire and innate need to win. Not only is this evident on the basketball court, but later in his business dealings too. North Carolina basketball focused on the team. Each player knew his place. As a freshman, Michael Jordan was one of only a handful of freshman to ever start. But Smith made sure Michael knew his place. Michael was responsible for lugging the film projector from game to game. Most importantly, Dean Smith made Michael Jordan realize that he was a spoke in a wheel and that the team itself was the hub. As Halberstam points out, it was that team concept that diminished some of the better players' skills and elevated others who were not so great. It is Michael Jordan's indomitable will and compulsion to win that trumps all and Halberstam's greatest insight into MJ, the person. His will to win makes it quite clear why, in the words of Chicago author Scott Turrow, "That Michael Jordan is better at basketball than anybody is at anything else." It is clear why those last second shots against Georgetown, Cleveland, and Utah went in. Luck, as Mr. Halberstam writes, was never part of the equation. Aside from that, the most interesting observations are offered by beat reporters who covered basketball over the years. In the past, Halberstam has written perceptive and moving books on race. But, in "Playing for Keeps" we never get a sense of how MJ dealt with the issue of race or if it was ever an obstacle. Twenty years ago (even today for that matter), a Black male never could have endorsed mainstream American products like McDonald's, Coke, Gatorade, and Nike. The only thing we learn on this subject is that business, for Michael Jordan, comes before anything else. When Senate candidate Harvey Gnatt asks for his endorsement, Michael Jordan declines. "Republicans wear sneakers too," he replies. Fair enough. But is that one incident or a pattern? How has his experience shaped his outlook on racial issues? For someone interested in organizations, the book is interesting, but not compelling. For a fan interested in the inside workings of the NBA and a basketball team, the book is well-reported. For those looking for Michael Jordan's larger cultural significance, his rise along with the rise of the NBA, cable television, and the new labor economics of sports is well documented (although, Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard sociologist, does even better in a much shorter piece that appeared last year in The New Yorker). But for those searching for the man behind that mask, Halberstam's book surely disappoints. What he does brilliantly in "The Amateurs," he fails to replicate here. Michael Jordan has conquered basketball and the business world. He may be making, however, his greatest move yet. While seeming to reveal something about himself to a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, he reveals nothing at all. Not even Halberstam can match MJ's crossover dribble. Halberstam is caught flatfooted, watching Jordan sky above him and his arms extended in a textbook-perfect follow through. The ball is sailing towards the hoop in a fine geometric arc. In a noisy arena or the quiet of an empty gym, he too hears the sound all too often heard by Jordan's opponents. The sound of defeat.
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am 1. Februar 1999
I've avoided previous biographical accounts of Michael Jordan for the fact that few credible and unbiased (to the extent it's possible!) authors have devoted their creative energies to capturing the true Jordan mystique and its wide-ranging effects. I'm glad I waited for Halberstam's. The Pulitzer-Prize Winner provides not only a rich, investigative, and intriguing account of the greatest team sports player in history, but a hearty analysis of the numerous influences upon and caused by His Airness. Halberstam accomplishes the rare and sumptuous feat of blending both variety and depth to draw the reader into what is essentially a story of characters: Phil Jackson, Dean Smith, Jerrys Reinsdorf and Krause, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, David Falk, and David Stern - all integral components of the author's well-woven tale. Interestingly, there is almost a sadness, if not a cynical tone, to the words Halberstam is admiringly careful in choosing to convey the Pyrrhic nature of Jordan's quest. A message to the reader here seems to be that while we late-20th centurions will count ourselves blessed to have witnessed such greatness, the costs might be even greater - the potentially pre-mature re-retirement of Jordan, damaged fan, player, and management relations (occuring in nearly all professional sports, for that matter), astronomical salaries and waning commitment, especially from new players, and for me as a Chicagolander, the dismantling of the Bulls, and the years ahead of sub-par Bulls teams. Ultimately, though, soaring above it all, is Michael Jordan, and Halberstam certainly reinforces that, as Scottie Pippen indicated at the Bulls' farewell dinner (per Halberstam's sources), 'Michael is the man who has made all of this possible'. At times Halberstam writes like a sports reporter recounting the events of a game, at other times he is a beat writer who knows the insights as to why things happen, or even still he writes as king of prose, a novelist with the natural ability to make the reader a part of the story. Even if someone had not heard of one Michael Jordan and picked up this book for a read, he or she would certainly appreciate the accomplishments of this man and how he earned them. "Playing for Keeps" is artistically special; I'm left thankful not only for the protagonist who fought the good fight, but also for the author who wrote the good write, if you will. High fives for MJ and DH, masters of their crafts.
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am 25. Januar 1999
Being from Chicago, I've waited for a book like this. Sadly, I've read every book there is on Jordan. There have been a few good moments here and there, but most have been highly forgettable paperbacks (Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about: the syrupy hack Bob Green, of all people, has written TWO books on Jordan. Yet, I read both of them. I don't care; Jordan is so truly unique, such a dominant figure, that I've wanted to know as much as I could about the guy).
This book gives wonderful insight into Jordan. However, the book is much more about the entire panoramic story behind and around Jordan. The book centers on Jordan, but it is also about the NBA in general, the dominant teams over the last 20 year, the emergence of cable TV and the entertainment culture, as well as, the fundamental change between players from the time Jordan came into the league and now. It is truly the big picture, and it amazes me how easily Halbestam weaves the whole thing together.
If there's one thing I wish this book had, it's even more insight into the brilliant Phil Jackson. And, even though the entire book is about Jordan, it's still lacking in some way about the man's core. It's hard to put my finger on what's missing. Maybe if Jordan had consented to be interviewed - maybe then we'd undertand more.
Here's my favorite Jordan story from the book - I wish there were more. For some reason this one seems to get at the almost maniacal, pathological way that MJ thinks. And it makes sense; Jordan is so incredibly competitive, and pushes himself so hard, there must be something out of whack in there.
The story is about the deciding game 6 of the NBA Championship series against Phoenix. Halberstam pionts out that Jordan took special pleasure in playing Phoenix because he got to go against Dan (Thunder Dan) Majerle. It wasn't anything Majerle had done, it was about the Bulls GM Jerry Krause. Jordan hated Krause. Krause loved Dan Majerle and used to go on and on about how great he thought he was. Jordan, therefore, always took his game up a notch when playing Majerle. A Phoenix assistant, unfamiliar with the dynamic between Jordan and Krause, felt that Jordan attacked Majerle in such a way on the court that there must have been some vendetta there that transcended the game. After the Bulls won the game 6, and therefore the Championship, in very dramatic fashion, Jordan raced to the basket to get the ball. He held it above his head, and his teammates, many who knew that Jordan was contemplating leaving the game, thought he might say something poignant. Instead, Jordan yelled out, "Thunder Dan Marjerle A**."
Now that tells you something.
It is a very good book.
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am 15. November 1999
Especially in the early (pre-NBA) portion, this book shines. There are excellent stories about Jordan's singular desire and drive to win, absorb coaching, learn, and improve. And as any reader should expect from David Halberstam, it is literate, readable, and free of vapid gush.
It would be hard to read this book and not come away impressed at Jordan's willingness to push himself to do anything legal to be the best and to win.
What didn't I like about the book? There was no index and no footnotes. Much of it was derivative (I'd read The Jordan Rules and A March to Madness and recognized the portions pulled from them). This book sheds no light on Jordan's off-the-court life. It's not strictly chronological, making it confusing to follow at times. And Jordan's change from a wide-eyed and approachable young man to a sophisticated and more aloof man of the world, a worthy story in itself, just happens all of a sudden.
I'd still give the book four stars. The pre-NBA portion is in the same league with the excellent current Lombardi biography (When Pride Still Mattered), and the rest of the book, though flawed, is strong enough to merit the rating.
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am 17. Mai 1999
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were just as good (better, I would say) than Jordan. Although neither was as athletic as Jordan, their mental toughness cannot be questioned.
Jordan could not win a title until Bird and Magic were in the twilights of their careers. Look at the progression. The Celtics beat up on the Pistons for years, and the Pistons beat up on the Bulls for years. Had Jordan's career spanned the same years as Bird and Magic's, he would have fewer (possibly zero) titles.
Bird had to compete with Magic, and vice versa. Jordan has had no rival. Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, John Stockton -- great players, but not on Bird and Magic's level.
Bird was a better shooter, passer, rebounder, and all-around player than Jordan. I too often saw Jordan take 35 shots to score 30 points to acknowledge that he is the greatest.
A legitimate argument can be made that Jordan was the greatest ever. However, the argument isn't as simple as people make it out to be. Bird is the greatest ever. Jordan and Magic are right up there. As Larry said when asked if Jordan was the best ever, "He's in the top two."
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am 4. März 1999
David Halberstam scores again with another superb book about achieving excellence in sports and in life. Michael Jordan's rise to becoming the globally preeminent athlete of his time is chronicled in Halberstam's engaging style that places Jordan's career in the context of the American and worldwide sports entertainment business. Blessed with extraordinary skills, Jordan drove himself to excel and dominate his sport through willpower and a work ethic that is a model for all. Halberstam's chapter on "Michael Jordan's coming out party", his record 63 point April 20, 1986 playoff game against the Boston Celtics brought back a vivid memory for me, as I was privileged to be in attendance to witness what Larry Bird described as "God disguised as Michael Jordan". I attended that game with Don Mitchell, one of the authors of another new book, "The 2000 Percent Solution", which has many insights to help us mere mortals focus our thinking to attain exponential success. Read "Playing for Keeps" for the sheer enjoyment of reliving Michael Jordan's career and of regaining some faith in athletes as role models.
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