Derrick Rose’s Breakout Game, Michael Jordan’s Rules.

Sam Smith shows a less attractive side of Michael Jordan in The Jordan Rules.

Sam Smith shows a less attractive side of Michael Jordan in The Jordan Rules.

Chicago Bulls rookie Derrick Rose had his playoff debut today, and it was a sensational one.

The Simeon Career Academy graduate sliced and carved and dished his way to a record-setting 36 points and 11 assists as the Bulls defeated the defending champion Boston Celtics in overtime, 105-103.

Rose’s spectacular outing is likely to spark comparisons with another Chicago great, Michael Jordan.  Twenty three years ago, Jordan poured in 49 and 63 points, respectively, in the first two games of a three-game series with the Celtics, who would go on later to win their sixteenth championship.

Jordan has been the subject of many books.  One of the more gossipy is Sam Smith’s The Jordan Rules.  A long-time basketball writer for the Chicago Tribune, Smith went behind the scenes of the Bulls’ first championship in 1991 and paints an unflattering picture of Jordan as a supreme basketball talent, but far less of a man. 

One of my favorite scenes in the book depicts Phil Jackson confronting Jordan in the waning moments of Game 5 in the 1991 Finals. 

A major sub-plot of the book was Jordan’s unwillingness, often with good reason, to trust his teammates with the ball in crucial moments.  His profane insistence that Jordan do so at this critical moment is humorous and memorable.

The series resumes on Monday.

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