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An excerpt from Michael Jordan's 1998 book
For the Love of the Game: My Story

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For 13 brilliant seasons Michael Jordan danced the dance of greatness across hardwood floors of basketball arenas from New York to Los Angeles to Barcelona and Paris. With a warrior's heart and an artist's grace, Jordan long ago transcended the sport to become one of the 20th century's global icons.

The face of the best.

On the court, his almost mythic flair for the spectacular prompted former Los Angeles Laker superstar Magic Johnson to say simply, "There's Michael, then there's all the rest of us."

Off the court, Jordan's ability to alter markets and drive the business of his marketing partners is unprecedented.

Through it all, Jordan showed the world that greatness, true greatness, comes from the inside out. He remains perhaps the greatest practice player in the history of sports, his desire to improve upon his own example legendary. When critics questioned his all-around ability, he became the game's most dominant defensive player at his position. When teams decided to close down the lane and eliminate drives to the basket, he became a deadly jump shooter. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had the most successfully teams of the 1980s but never won more than two consecutive championships. The Bulls won three straight--twice.

In For the Love of the Game, Jordan takes us through the wonder of his career on the court and away from the game. From the dream that preceded the game-winning shot against Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA Finals to the methodical dissection of the Utah Jazz prior to his game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, Jordan pulls back the curtain on one of the most remarkable lives this century.

In the following excerpt, Jordan talks of living in the moment, life after basketball and the evolution of the game's next great players.

Excerpt from FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME: MY STORY by Michael Jordan

"People don't believe I don't know what's going to happen next week, next month, or next year. But I truly live in the moment. That's what retirement means."

Tomorrow I don't know what I'm going to do. I think about today. People don't believe I don't know what's going to happen next week, next month, or next year. But I truly live in the moment. That's what retirement means. You can design and choose your moment. I can design shoes one day and ski the next. I have created the opportunity to have a choice. That is how I am going to live. I am not going to determine what the moment is going to be a week from now. I've never done that and I don't like living that way. I would feel too confined. To me, retirement is having no restraints. I won't be retired fully until I don't have to do anything. One day I won't have to do commercials, or talk to a board, or help in the design of shoes. I will be able to wake up when I wake up. As long as I live in the moment I don't believe I will ever get bored. I am not going to mind being out of the spotlight.

There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don't believe there is only one greatest player either. Everyone plays in different eras. I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else's talent. I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era. Without Julius Erving, David Thompson, Walter Davis, and Elgin Baylor there would never have been a Michael Jordan. I evolved from them.

If I had been born on an island, learned the game all by myself, and developed into the player I became without ever seeing another example, then yes, maybe I would accept being called the greatest. But I have used all the great players who came before me to improve upon my game. I don't think I will live to see somebody score 100 points in a game again, but there will be players who evolve and move the game ahead. What could a player do to improve upon my example? They asked me the same thing about Elgin Baylor and Dr. J. And that's the beauty of it all. No one knows.

Somewhere there is a little kid working to enhance what we've done. It may take awhile, but someone will come along who approaches the game the way I did. He won't skip steps. He won't be afraid. He will learn from my example, just as I learned from others. He will master the fundamentals. Maybe he will take off from the free-throw line and do a 360 in midair. Why not? No one thought they would see a 6-foot-9 point guard or a 7-foot-7 center. But here we are. There are now more 6-foot-10 perimeter players than at any time in history. Magic would have been a center 30 years ago. Evolution knows no bounds. Unless they change the height of the basket or otherwise alter the dimensions of the game, there will be a player much greater than me.

I listened, I was aware of my success, but I never stopped trying to get better.

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Compilation copyright (c) 1998 by Rare Air Ltd. Text copyright (c) 1998 by Michael Jordan. All rights reserved.

Crown | Hardcover | October 1998
$ 50.00 | 0-609-60206-3



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