Co-authored by undoubtedly, the greatest basketball player ever, this book serves as a foray into the work ethic, dedication, and impetus, of Michael Jordan. Mike had a tough upbringing. At the age of 15, in 9th grade, he was suspended on the first day of school. He would be suspended three more times in high school. His mother got him a job working at hotel maintenance, which he quit after a week. Not to mention that at the peak of his career, his father got murdered on his way home from a burial.
Those who know him personally such as his mother, George Koehler and the genius behind Brand Jordan, Tinker Hatfield, lend their voices in this book. Mike came on the scene as a third draft pick in a field dominated accolades-bedazzled veterans such as by Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving. He was a rookie. Yet, it’s that status that, that perception, that he used as the fuel to burn his ambition. With time, his hard work started bringing in rewards in forms of better contracts and endorsement deals. Except, these didn’t blind him, because that wasn’t his end goal. He made a fine distinction between symbols and actual success.
In him, we see a man who took his influence on the court seriously. He believed in ‘leading with actions, not words.’ In his own words;
“You can’t demand respect because of a title or a position and expect people to follow. That might work for a little while but in the long run people respond to what they see.”
This is a story of the power of hard work, unshakeable dedication and clear focus! A man who practised longer and harder than everyone else. A man who pushed himself beyond what was humanly conceivable. This is the story of a man who had to be at 7 A.M. to lift weights, find ways to keep himself motivated for every game, sit up half the night with an ankle in a bucket of ice, and at times hooked up to an electronic stimulation machine. He credits his 10th grade coach, Coach Herring for banking and believing in his abilities as a young lad. He was so focused at making the team, doing what nobody in his city had done before that his mind-set was even if he had to sit on the bench, at least his going to learn how to sit on the bench with the best. His goal was to go toe-to-toe with the very best, and prove that he was the very best!
Did you know that he almost didn’t sign with Nike? Imagine what that would have been like! Adidas’ offer was too low, Converse had a line of players which meant that Mike would have been an afterthought, Nike made a wonderful presentation and as the saying goes, the rest is history! He, and the Jordan brand became the most marketable commodity. So marketable that it has survived, as a separate entity from its parent company, for years! Whereas Nike had projected bookings of $3 million for Air Jordan between the end of the third year going into the fourth, of signing him, Brand Jordan did an impressive $130 million in the first year!
In this book, Tinker, the genius behind Brand Jordan tells of the background story to each Jordan series. It’s his story that tells just why we lovers of basketball don’t consider Brand Jordan as just another shoe line. There is a story behind each and every one of those pairs. For example, did you know that the design of the Jordan VII was African art influenced by an Afropop Worldwide poster that Tinker came across in a little record store? The guy in the drawing was playing a guitar shaped like Africa. This made the perfect design because prior, Tinker and Mike had a conversation where Mike talked about wanting the shoes to stay young and interesting, while remaining sophisticated in design. The owner was initially hesitant about selling it to him because he was advertising for a radio show and the Afropop music. Eventually, he sold it to him for $15, and the Jordan VII was born.
This book provides wonderful insights into the life of the Greatest of All Time! His life, his story, his hard work, are all laid bare in this book. What a man! What a brand! What a legend!
REVIEW BY AURA BILLY OSOGO