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READ: Playing for Keeps - David Halberstam 

Publisher: Random House
Price: £12.50, Paperback

Jesus in Nikes. That is how Michael Jordan is described on the cover of an enthralling biography written by well-known American sportswriter David Halberstam.

A fame that was all encompassing both on and off the court has been analysed many times now but Halberstam comes closer than most to capturing life inside that bubble of greatness.

Jordan may have been the biggest sporting star on the planet over the past decade and a half, but how well do we know him? Blessed with charisma, a fierce will to win and with a profound gift which transcended his sport, Jordan was a phenomenon without precedent. 

A money making machine but as the same time, an adherent to the old school of basketball which places the best at the top of the hierarchy and delivers respect to those who earn it by actions, not just endorsements.

Over a sporting life which began in his teens and ending in the jump shot against the Utah Jazz which took the Bulls to a sixth NBA Championship, Jordan is chronicled from all angles. 

Talking to family, friends and colleagues, a picture is built up of a basketballer who, from humble beginnings, became one of the highest-earning men in America. If you needed shoes, he sold them. A drink? No problem. A movie? Starring. And even MJ's baseball jaunt has a story to tell.

But more than just chronicling a player's career - Playing for Keeps scrutinises an entire era in sport and evaluates the effects of new money in the game - good and bad. Through the eyes of the people who were there, we see up close how the NBA markets its stars and what each side gives up to be part of the show.

Jordan was the biggest of them all and although we might not fully understand a complex person, Halberstam - both as fan and historian - lets us appreciate his hero's world. Wonderfully scripted, if you've ever wondered what life at the top of your game is like, then the answers are inside here.

Rating:  9/10

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