Sports Frog has already mentioned this story (as has Sam Frank), but it’s worth highlighting again. Tom Socca writes in this week’s NY Observer about Michael Leahy’s When Nothing Else Matters : Michael Jordan’s Last Comeback, a none too favorable glance at Jordan’s calling (and taking most of) the shots for the Washington Wizards.
Mr. Leahy™s book tells how the Wizards cut off awkward interview sessions and routinely ignored N.B.A. rules about opening practice to reporters, how Mr. Jordan froze out and belittled writers who displeased him. And it told how the press kept writing what Mr. Jordan wanted.
In one recurring motif, Mr. Leahy shows young shooting guard Richard Hamilton stifling his annoyance and fielding leading question after leading question about how much he owed to Mr. Jordan™s talents: “Hamilton deftly changed the premise, keeping his answer short: ˜I think the big thing is that we™re learning to play off each other.™”
Mr. Hamilton was traded to Detroit after Mr. Jordan™s first season. Mr. Jordan, as Mr. Leahy describes him, preferred his teammates compliant”the same way he preferred his hand-picked coach, Doug Collins.
The Ripster, as we all know, won his first ring last June as a pivotal figure on the Detroit Pistons championship squad. The young Wizards, sans Jordan, Charles Oakley and Jerry Stackhouse, are having their best season in eons.
There’s also more than a bit of friction between author Leahy and Jordan confidante Michael Wilbon, a colleague of the former at the Washington Post and the inspiration for Malcom Jamal Warner’s most recent, abortive comeback attempt.
Leahy’s tome has been out since November. As Socca points out, the Washington Post has yet to review it. And I’ve yet to hear it mentioned on “Pardon The Interruption”.