By Jeff Merron
Page 2

Michael Jordan is an economy unto himself, spawning opportunities for all kinds of marketers, small businessmen, entrepeneurs -- and authors. With the release of the latest take on the latest version of Jordan, we thought we'd take a glance at what some other books have revealed about MJ.

MJ and Bill Cartwright were, for a time, co-captains of the Bulls.

Sam Smith, in ""The Jordan Rules"" wrote that Jordan had no respect for Cartwright, told his teammates to keep the ball away from Cartwright in crucial late-game situations (even if coach Doug Collins called a play involving Cartwright), and bellittled the veteran publicly. Cartwright confronted Jordan:

Excerpt: He didn't do or say anything to anybody until late that season, when he told Jordan he needed to talk to him.

There was little small talk exchanged. "I don't like the things I've heard you saying about me," Cartwright told Jordan.

Jordan stared at him.

"If Iever hear again that you're telling guys not to pass me the ball," Cartwright continued, "you will never play basketball again."

That was it. But as Cartwright began to move better after surgery following the 1989-90 season, Jordan began to accept him more.

David Halberstam, in "Playing for Keeps," paints a similar picture.

Note: Jordan can be wrong. Very wrong.

Excerpt: Jordan did not respect Cartwright as a man or as a player. He called him Medical Bill because of his past injuries. He thouught Cartwright had bad hands, so sometimes in practice he threw him passes that were unnecessarily hard so that Cartwright would fumble them and prove Jordan's point. About no other player was Michael Jordan to prove quite so wrong as about Bill Cartwright, both as a man and as a player, but it took him almost two years to realize it and admit it.

Janet Lowe, in ""Michael Jordan Speaks: Lessons from the World's Greatest Champion"," explained how MJ admitted his error, with big-time class:

Excerpt: Jordan acknowledged later that he had been unhappy when the Bulls traded away his friend Charles Oakley in 1988 to bring in Cartwright, a veteran in the waning years of his playing career.

Later, Michael made amends to Cartwright and to management who arranged the trade with a tribute to Cartwright across a two-page spread of Jordan's coffee-table book, For the Love of the Game: My Story. A sprawling headline across the top of pages 40-41 read: "I was wrong about the Charles Oakley-Bill Cartwright trade in 1988." Across the bottom was written, "I loved having Charles on the team, but Bill made the difference."

Jordan, a notorious gambler, was involved in a few episodes in the early 1990s that brought his wagering to the fore, including photocopies of checks, written by MJ to pay off gambling debts totalling $108K, being found in the briefcase of a murdered NC bail-bondsman. His big-betting habits threatened to put a crimp in his kid-friendly public persona.

From: "Hang Time: Days and Dreams With Michael Jordan", by Bob Greene

Excerpt: He understood better than anyone the ramificatioins of this. It didn't matter that, if any person could financially afford that kind of gambling loss, he could. He recognized that many people were going to think less of him because of the news about the gambling, and he accepted that there was little he could do about it. This wasn't something that had been drummed up -- he had donw what he was accused of doing.

From: "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made", by David Halberstam.

Excerpt: None of the gambling was connected to basketball games ... Jordan bet primarily on his own golf ability. To those familiar with Jordan's intensity, it all seemed familiar -- the ferocious need to win; the need, when he lost, to keep playing and up the stakes -- just a part of the same predatory impulse tha tcarried him to so many basketball triumphs. "Michael doesn't have a gambling problem," his father, James Jordan, told reporters at the time, "he has a competitiveness problem."

From: "The Jordan Rules" by Sam Smith

Excerpt: Later in the season, after Jordan recived what some said was a "Stern warning" from NBA commissioner David Stern about his gambling cronies, Jordan reflected that "I lead two lives. I'm projected to be a 38-, 39-year-old mature person who has experienced life to the fullest ... but the other side of me is a 29-year-old who never really got the chance to experience his success with friends and maybe do some of the crazy things that 27-year-olds do."

From: "Hang Time: Days and Dreams With Michael Jordan", by Bob Greene

Greene talked to Jordan about the many nights that James, his father, came to see him play at Chicago Stadium. Jordan said it made him "nervous" if he didn't know that they were there and in their seats when the game started. What follows is just the end of a conversation in which Greene drew MJ out -- Air first denied his parents' attendance mattered all that much, but when pressed, came around.

Excerpt: "It makes me nervous. ... I can't play the game unless I know that they're in their seats and they got there safely."

It was conversations like that one that made me stop and think, days and weeks later. ... The clock running down at the endof the quarter while he, alone near midcourt, balanced the ball in his hands and decided what to do as thousands of people screamed -- that didn't make him edgy. The idea that his parents were supposed to come to a game, and that they might not have arrived for some reason -- that had the power to sacre him. That, he had to reassure himself about before he could step onto the court."

James Jordan, 57, was murdered on July 23, 1993, in a robbery attempt in Robeson County, NC.

From: "The Jordan Rules" [James Jordan was] known as "Pops" to Jordan, and more of a brother than a father to Michael."

More of a brother, maybe. But still a father.

From: "One Last Shot: The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback", by Mitchell Krugel

Excerpt: Back at Laney [High School], he would sneak out of class for his own personal street corner, otherwise known as the school gym, where he would shoot away his truancy. Happened so many times one year, he had to be suspended. Michael called these his "bad boy" days, and eventually james Jordan had to put it to his son in no uncertain terms. You can't continue this beahvior, James told Michael, "because you have something special and you're going to blow it."

And always there for his son.

From: "Michael Jordan Speaks: Lessons from the World's Greatest Champion", by Janet Lowe

Excerpt: In 1990, the Chicago Bulls battled the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals, playing well enough to fgorce the series to a seventh game. Jordan was humiliated and angry when the team lost that game. He rushed out to the team bus afterwards.

"And I remember my father coming on the bus. And I'm in the back, yelling and screaming at him. And he's doing his best to calm me down and say, 'It's only a game. You'll be given another opportunity.'"


From: Michael Jordan : On the Court with (Matt Christopher Sports Biographies), by Matt Christopher

Excerpt: James Jordan had been more than a father to Michael. He was also his best friend. James went to almst every Bulls game and often traveled with the team. Michael's teammates had gotten to know James and loved him. When Michael went into a slump or got into trouble, his father was still the first person he went to for advice.

Jordan's coach at UNC was the legendary Dean Smith. Jordan reflected on the coach's impact on his game.

From: "Michael Jordan Speaks: Lessons from the World's Greatest Champion", by Janet Lowe

Excerpt: Jordan: "A lot [of] people say Dean Smith held me to under 20 points a game. Dean Smith gave me the knowledge to score 37 points a game and that's something people don't understand."

The Bulls hired Doug Collins as head coach prior to the 1986-87 season.

From: "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made" by David Halberstam

Excerpt: The one major dispute Jordan had with Doug Collins in those first two years cane at a practice in Collins's second year. It was, of all things, over the score of an intrateam practice ... at one point Jordan said the score was 5-4 while Collins said it was 5-3. "You've got the wrong score!" Jordan said, very angrily. The argument became incredibly heated, and the entire gym got very quiet except for these two men ...

"Would you have said that to Dean Smith?" Collins asked at one point, and Jordan said no. That was a shot close to the heart, and if anything, it might have made him angrier

Jordan left practice after the argument and, with Collins taking the initiative, the two made peace several days later. On the surface

From: "The Jordan Rules" by Sam Smith

Excerpt: Jordan knew he had behaved badly, even childishly, but despite his seeming sophisication in dealins with media and public, Jordan was often like a child searcing for discipline, pushing matters as far as he could until someone came forward to punish him. Jackson was quick to catch on, and would use Jordan's need for a father figure to his own advantage; he would not tolerate Jordan's childish fits. But when Collins caved in so quickly to Jordan's admittedly puerile tantrum, Jordan realized two things: He could do what he pleased without threat of punishment, and he could no longer respect his coach.

Phil Jackson became the Bulls head coach at the start of the 1989-90 season. There would be the inevitable conflicts that arise between superstar and head coach, but the relationship that emerged rose way above those and turned out to be remarkable. The following is about MJ's decision to retire and play baseball after the 1993 season.

From: "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made", by David Halberstam.

Excerpt: Jerry Reinsdorf, informed first by Jordan of his intention to leave, had asked him to meet with Phil Jackson before he made his final decision. At first, Michael was reluctant to talk to him, fearing that Jackson, always so subtle, might talk him out of leaving. Finally, Jordan, quite wary, went by to see his coach. But Phil Jackson wanted none of the responsibility of taking a player out of going where his heart took him ... His handing of Jordan that day took their relationship to a new level; it was as if jackson had passed an acid test -- of being willing to do what was good for Jordan, not Jackson.

As president of the Wizards, Jordan hired Collins as "head coach." But it was always clear that MJ was running the show. Collins might issue orders, but it was clear that when they were directed at Jordan, they were more like suggestions. Especially when it came to playing time.

From: "One Last Shot: The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback" by Mitchell Krugel

Excerpt: Hyperextension in Michael led to hypertension for Collins. The Wizards coach had devised a game plan to keep Michael's playing time in a winnable cycle. Take Michael out around the four-minute mark of the first quarter, get him back with eight left in the half ... But as the Wizards struggled more and more at the start of games, Jordan's will superseded Collins's scheme. And when Doug tried to impose his will over Michael's, the coach risked inciting a wrath far more fracturing than tendonitis. He learned this in the first half of a game at Toronto when Collins switched Tyronn Lue to guard the white-hot Carter in the midst of his twenty-three point roll. Jordan received the order and shot back a laserlike glare at Collins that could have seared a hole through his heart."