CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000
It was the same way he had mastered basketball all those years ago at Laney High School. In some ways it felt good to him to be doing it again, even though many people laughed at him for trying. But this was the real game. This was the thing that no one could take from him or spoil-the struggle to learn, the struggle to overcome obstacles... "I liked the work," Michael Jordan said later, looking back on his baseball experience. "I liked going out there and taking all that batting practice. I liked taking nothing for granted. I liked the feeling that I could never assume that I could succeed."Is this assessment justifiable? Yes, as Michael Boughn shows in this short biography written for young fans, aged 10 thru 14, it is. Why? Because Jordan's superlative athleticism and psychological stamina were developed through his strength of character. Whether he was playing a pick-up basketball game as a child, as a high school athlete, a college player, or professional super star, he was driven to succeed by a relentless pursuit of perfection.
Fans saw in Jordan's efforts to overcome obstacles a quality so far beyond accepted pedestrian norms that any critical assessments of character were almost blasphemous and will likely continue to be. As well, Jordan was a player who stuck with his team, even when they had losing seasons; he never took the easy way out.
Boughn, however, does not sink to mindless hero worship. His Jordan has character flaws but whether more ought have been included is difficult to calculate. Young fans will enjoy the book. It has a good mix uplifting role model idealism, basketball heroics, and inner details of the game.
Ian Stewart lives in Winnipeg, MB, and is a regular contributor to CM and the book review page of the Winnipeg Free Press.
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