Two books well worth the read

OK, it’s time to take those Christmas gift cards and head toward your friendly neighborhood bookstore.

Sitting here on a desk in front of me are two examples of outstanding reading material.

One is former Daily Herald sports writer Kent McDill’s appropriately reverent “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.”

The other is the appropriately irreverent “The Onion Book of Known Knowledge.”

Each provides gobs of fascinating tidbits to while away time in the bathroom, though calling either a bathroom book is a mistake.

Nothing exemplifies their divergent tones as much as the respective looks at former Bulls superstar Michael Jordan.

“100 Things” reverence: “He is generally considered the best to ever play the game.”

“Onion Book” irreverence: “Gambling addict, adulterer, neglectful parent, pathologically competitive (bleep), and national hero who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championship titles in the 1990s.”

One “Wow!” and one “Pow!”

Each book succeeds at what it attempted, McDill factually portraying everything in Bulls history and the Onion satirically portraying everything in world history.

“100 Things” reverence: “(Johnny Kerr’s) large personality and upbeat attitude proved significant as the Bulls struggled, then eventually grew into an NBA championship team.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “Shot put, athletic event in which a heavy round ball is thrown as far as possible and the only sport considered less graceful than carrying an air conditioner up seven flights of stairs.”

“100 Things” reverence: “(Dennis Rodman) was willing to sacrifice his body in order to get his team an extra possession, and while teammates wished he would settle down off the court, they appreciated what he did on it.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “Cal Ripken, Jr., former Baltimore Orioles shortstop and third baseman who has played a relatively minor role in humanity’s overall historical narrative.”

“100 Things” reverence: “In 2001, (Phil) Jackson and his close friend Charley Rosen wrote a book together titled ‘More than a Game.’ It again reflected Jackson’s interest in things beyond the game of basketball that can be used to influence the game of basketball.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “Hockey, hey, if you like it, great.”

“100 Things” reverence: “Chicago Stadium … somehow, the building made noise even when it was empty.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “Michael Phelps, champion American swimmer who at the 2008 Beijing Olympics won gold medals in eight events, including the Handstand in the Shallow End, the Finding the Penny Without Goggles, the Pushing Sister in With Clothes On, and the 400-meter Pantsing the Fat Kid.”

“100 Things” reverence: “(Norm) Van Lier’s love of the Bulls, and his adamant on-air demands that the team play hard-nosed defense the way he did decades earlier, made him popular with fans who never saw him play.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “Olympic Games, prestigious international event held every two years in which the world’s greatest athletes compete to determine which nation is best at cheating.”

“100 Things” reverence: “There are not a lot of front-office personnel with their names up in banners at NBA stadiums, especially ones who never played the game of basketball … Jerry Krause is one of them.”

“The Onion” irreverence: “The current score of sports is 4,305,382 to 3,957,387.”

Both reverence and irreverence have places in literature and each of these books is worthy of a place on your bookshelf.

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