Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lunch With Roland and 'Michael Jordan: The Life'

Roland points to the book on my shirt (CLOG!) as he signs his latest.
Just had lunch downtown with my pal Roland Lazenby, who is on a whirlwind tour of Roanoke as we speak, dropping off copies of his latest book, Michael Jordan: The Life. This one, I think, will be the pinnacle of his career to this point and will be a monster seller. The national tour begins tomorrow.

Already a number of major news magazines, newspapers and radio and TV biggies have planned excerpts, interviews and extensive coverage of the book, which is nearly 700 pages long (down from the initial 1,000).

I read a number of passages from the book as Roland was writing it (made the acknowledgements) and I can tell you that it is much like his previous success Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, a best-seller in several major markets, in its depth and insight ... and its superb reporting. Jordan, originally titled Black Jesus, which I loved as a title, tells the story from a point before Michael's birth, and that portion of the book is my favorite, dealing as it does with early 20th Century racism in Eastern North Carolina. Powerful stuff there.

This is also Roland's second book (of the five dozen he's written) on Jordan, the predecessor being Blood on the Horns: The Long Strange Ride of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. But this one, of course, is much more personal, extensive and revealing of the man.

Roland, always telling stories (like every minute of his life), chatted a bit about his book in the works about VMI football (I'll be quoted in it, he tells me) and about his idea for his first novel, which I would love to read. It's a secret story right now, but it's a killer. The guy knows stories and I'm one who loves listening to him tell them.

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