December AMCI Book Review Corner

The AMCI Reading Corner is a crowdsourced resource share aimed to serve as a platform for the AMCI community to share book recommendations and reflect with personal takeaways. Starting with monthly postings, more ways to engage will be shared as the idea grows.

This month, AMC Institute's Michael Battaglia, CAE, CNAP of AMPED Association Management shares his review of Michael Jordan:The Life by Roland Lazenby.

Michael Jordan: The Life
by Roland Lazenby (Amazon)

For children of the 1990s, Michael Jordan is a fixture in our memories. From the Nike shoes, to the high-flying dunks, to the tragic murder of his father, Jordan has been one of biggest stars in the world for 30+ years. Last year, ABC produced a 10-part series called ‘The Last Dance’ focusing on Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98. The series goes into some of his life story but the book goes even further.

Jordan grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina as the 4th of 5 children. His older brother Larry was also very athletic and developed a sibling rivalry with Michael playing sports. The book talks about this relationship and the pressure from his father James and mother Deloris to find work. His parents were at every game – his dad especially loved baseball – but I don’t think they viewed him as a prodigy or future star athlete. Larry was the hard worker, the better athlete, more successful.  

There is a famous story about how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Everyone has heard it, and it’s true, but not entirely true. As a freshman, Jordan tried out for the varsity team and was cut but still played on the junior varsity team. The book describes how the coach of the varsity team at the time was stubborn about allowing freshman to play on varsity. Even so, Jordan did not doubt himself. He ended up having a good high school basketball career but was not a star.

Michael Jordan became a star at the University of North Carolina during his freshman year. He hit the game winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game. Coach Dean Smith’s first championship at UNC playing against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown University. The book talks about how in this one moment, Jordan realized how good he can actually be. From there, Jordan went out on to be drafted in the NIBA by the Chicago Bulls and from 1984–1993 established himself as one of the best players in the league.

Another great story from the book is the detail behind his endorsement deal with Nike. At the time, Adidas and Converse were the dominant brands in the game. Nike made running shoes and hadn’t moved outside of track and field yet. The company eventually flew Jordan and his parents to Oregon for a meeting with Phil Knight. Sonny Vaccaro convinced Nike to give Jordan a big contract with a vision of moving Nike into basketball shoes around his image. This was seen as a risk at the time, and we know how that turned out.

Some of my biggest takeaways from this book include:

  1. Confidence and perseverance are keys to success. This sounds cliché, but Jordan’s story really is a reminder to us about how anyone can be great as long as we believe it ourselves first. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  2. Always challenge yourself. Jordan was described by many in the book as the most competitive person they’ve ever met. That competitiveness might not directly apply to association management, but we can still bring that same type of energy to continuously improving at our jobs every day. Take criticism as an opportunity to make ourselves better.
  3. Develop meaningful relationships. A tragic part of Jordan’s story is the murder of his father at a highway rest area in North Carolina. It was a totally random act and caused Jordan to retire from basketball. This decision at his peak demonstrates to me the value of having deep, meaningful relationships in our lives. Developing these relationships and keeping them active in our lives is important because anything can happen tomorrow.
Share this post:

Comments on "December AMCI Book Review Corner"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment