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Did you know that Michael Jordan got cut from the basketball team his Sophomore year of high school? Robert Lipsyte, a legendary sports reporter, award winning young adult novelist and an outspoken critic of the sports world.(20) As a young reporter, Lipsyte covered boxing for The New York Times. In 1971, Lipsyte left the Times to concentrate on writing books. (23) His sports books for young people include “Free To Be Muhammad Ali” and the “Superstar Lineup” series documenting the lives of famous sports heroes. (24) One of the “Superstar Lineup” series that will be talked about in this review are Michael Jordan A Life Above The Rim; the true story of how Michael Jordan achieved this amazing level of success as a basketball player and as the high king of commercial endorsements underscores one of the new roles of athletes in our society today.
The title, A Life Above The Rim, refers to Michael Jordan’s nickname “Air Jordan” he got it from him having one of the highest vertical leap in the NBA. Just like people didn’t know Michael Jordan got cut his sophomore year, people also didn’t know about Michael Jordan’s life before he became a superstar, At the beginning of the story, Lipsyte portrays the humbling life Michael Jordan before he went viral. Michael was a late bloomer, cut from his high school basketball team in his sophomore year. He wasn’t offered the most prestigious college scholarships available.
The true Jordan phenomenon didn’t really began until, of course, his freshman year at the University of North Carolina, when he was playing for Dean Smith and announced his presence with a spectacular 17 foot swish that brought his team the NCAA title. Lipsyte covers Jordan’s college and pro careers, including the two Olympic gold medals that he won. Lipsyte provides not merely the facts but a sophisticated social and historical analysis of the game of basketball and Jordan’s place in it. In Jordan’s whole involvement with basketball and advertising. Jordan managed not only to be the greatest basketball player ever but also to do it at a time when basketball was at its most popular, with corporations most ready to cash in on marketable stars.
Many corporations were ready to cash in on the marketable super star. Lipsyte writes about Michael’s success with advertisement deals with the corporations, “When he went pro, Jordan signed with Proserv, the biggest sports agency in the country. They negotiated his contracts, handled his money and landed him endorsement deals. They had no doubts about his marketing potential, and they immediately offered him to various companies. Nike was the first to take a chance, and the payoff continues to exceed the corporation’s wildest dreams”. This passage shows much Michael Jordan’s life has changed after he become a superstar. When you’re a superstar like Michael Jordan, people would be dying to meet you.
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