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Playing for Keeps


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About the Author

David Halberstam is the author of fifteen books, including The Best and the Brightest, The Powers That Be, The Reckoning, The Breaks of the Game, Summer of '49, October 1964, and The Amateurs. He has received every major journalistic award, including the Pulitzer Prize, and is a member of the Society of American Historians.


What makes Jordan tick? That's what historian Halberstam is set to discover.

"A remarkable book . . . a must-read for basketball fans, admirers of Jordan, and anyone who seeks to understand sports in America today." --Bill Bradley

"The single greatest sports book I've ever read."--Dan Le Batard, ESPN Radio

"What David Halberstam delivers--and what the reader has come to expect from Halberstam--is insight, balance, analysis."--The New York Times

"A wonderful book, written by a remarkable journalist."--Seattle Times

"Halberstam writes the story of Jordan in layers through unforgettable tales of his brilliant career . . . An insider's view of basketball, structured like a sports reporter's private journal." --Dallas Morning News

Halberstam (The Children, etc.) has written an excellent book about the game of basketball and its greatest player. Readers familiar with Halberstam's customary insight into American life might think he pulls some punches. But this is an engrossing portrait‘much edgier than the ballplayer's own current bestseller, For the Love of the Game. This is an examination of Jordan as athlete and media phenomenon, of the superstar's professional life and also of the NBA's coming of age. The focus is squarely on Jordan's astounding competitiveness and will power, qualities that, Halberstam argues, have as much or more to do with Jordan's success than even his remarkable talent. Meandering back and forth through time, Halberstam covers everything from the invention of ESPN to the genius of Spike Lee's Nike commercials‘and every major playoff game Jordan played. With equal enthusiasm, Halberstam profiles the supporting cast: Bulls' coach Phil Jackson, whose job was to "maximize Jordan's abilities, without letting him suck the oxygen away from his teammates"; agent David Falk, who created "the idea of the individual player as a commercial superstar"; teammate Scottie Pippen. The book is filled with salty, informed hoops talk. It does not, however, give readers an intimate look at Jordan, who declined the author's request for an interview. Nor does Halberstam pursue difficult questions about Jordan's character, about the way he has decided to use (or not use) his celebrity and his wealth. (Feb.)

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