This is a story of passion and commitment and faith—qualities that drove one working-class kid to not only build a sports empire, but also to change the way the entire sports industry has done business. In How You Play the Game, Jerry Colangelo, in his own words, tells how he emerged from the tough streets of Chicago Heights as a high school and college sports star…how he helped create and build the Chicago Bulls—at a time when the NBA was a second-tier professional league, and two basketball teams had already failed in the Windy City…how he moved to Arizona and started the Phoenix Suns, an organization that fought its way to become the ninth richest franchise in all of sports…and how he then began baseball’s newest team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is a tale of determination, faith, and, most assuredly, good timing and good luck. In truth, this isn’t one story—but many. Jerry weaves together a lifetime of great moments in sports and tense times in business. Peppered with stories about players and coaches, including Charles Barkley and Connie Hawkins, Red Holzman, and Buck Showalter, as well as owners, general managers, investors, reporters, and more, How You Play the Game is truly an insider’s look at the sports world. Mr. Colangelo’s 30-year history mirrors the evolution of sports to the global marketing and media mega-industry it is today.
A welcome change from most business books written by sports celebrities, Colangelo's work is refreshingly free of such tired chestnuts as "a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins." With Sherman, Colangelo has fashioned a largely autobiographical, crisply written book that incorporates his business philosophy. Colangelo's professional career began in 1966, when he became the assistant to the founder of the Chicago Bulls, Dick Klein. After learning the ropes in Chicago, Colangelo jumped to Phoenix in 1968 to become the general manager of the NBA's newest team, the Phoenix Suns. His big break came in 1986, when the team was put up for sale and Colangelo formed an investment group that purchased the Suns for the then record price of $44.5 million. Colangelo's ability to acquire the Suns stemmed from his fundamental business philosophy--that a person must put him or herself in a position to act decisively when the right opportunity presents itself. Colangelo put himself in the right place at the right time by creating ties to the local business community and by establishing a reputation as a dependable business partner. Those same factors came into play several years later, when Colangelo cobbled together a consortium to which Major League Baseball awarded an expansion team that became the Arizona Diamondbacks. Colangelo and Sherman have neatly meshed the highlights of Colangelo's 30 years in the sports world with useful business advice to create one of the better books in the sports/business genre.