Charlotte, NC, United States (4E Sports) – Basketball superstar Michael Jordan has provided the public a glimpse of his past, including his struggles with racism in a biography released Tuesday.
Entitled “Michael Jordan: The Life” and written by Roland Lazenby, the book contains details how Jordan grew up in the 1970s in North Carolina and how his views on race were shaped in an area dominated by the Ku Klux Klan.
Those views were strengthened after he watched the miniseries “Roots” and learned about the suffering of his African-American ancestors. The tipping point, Jordan said, came in 1977, when a girl at his school called him the N-word.
“So I threw a soda at her,” Jordan said in the book. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.”
Suspended by the school for his actions, Jordan tells Lazenby that his mother intervened, urging him not to have racial hatred dominate his life.
Jordan also detailed how he was one of only two black players on the school baseball team and was called inferior while he played.
The 51-year-old Jordan went on to win six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. He also took a break from basketball to try his hand at professional baseball.
Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause says in the book that Jordan was powered throughout his life by any negative experiences, including those in his childhood.
“He remembers everyone who ever didn’t think he was going to be great,” Krause said. “He remembers every negative story that’s ever been written about him.”
The book’s release comes one week after Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, spoke out against Los Angeles Clippers counterpart Donald Sterling, who was taped making racing comments last month and since has been banned by the NBA.
“As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” Jordan said in a statement. “… As a former player, I’m completely outraged.
“There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”