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How to understand how much mind-blowing, Woj-like reporting is stuffed into The Jordan Rules? That night, the Bulls lose to the underdog Warriors. Jordan gets just 12 shots — a result, he thinks, of the triangle offense that coach Phil Jackson has used to take some of his points and redistribute them to other players.
Jordan calls the process "de-Michaelization. At a club that night, Jordan seethes with embarrassment. The next day, at practice in Seattle, Jordan shows up Jackson by refusing to take more than a shot or two. The same night — such is the granular depth of The Jordan Rules — Jordan goes to another nightclub and runs into a motormouth Sonics rookie named Gary Payton.
Against the Sonics, Jordan takes the ball away from Payton the first two times he touches it. Payton is so thoroughly owned that he has to go to the bench. But just as Jordan is gliding toward a SportsCenter -worthy night, Jackson pulls him out of the game. De-Michaelization and all. Armstrong as he sits on the bench. We started on page 95, remember. This is why we made due without Woj bombs back in Because The Jordan Rules was the mother of all Woj bombs. Sam Smith was an odd guy to write a classic sports book.
David Axelrod — the Tribune columnist turned Obama political guru — said Smith favored saddle shoes like the ones Archie Andrews wore. Smith, who was from Brooklyn, was more clear-eyed. If his writing occasionally groaned under the strain of the beat — in The Jordan Rules , he compared the Bulls to the defenders of the Alamo, General Sherman, and the British army during the Revolutionary War — he had a knack for finding the killer detail.