No athlete is more iconic than Michael Jordan. But no matter how famous, there are some things about his past that will shock you.

That's what I learned from Roland Lazenby's new book, Michael Jordan: The Life, the single most comprehensive and fascinating book about the man's life. Mr. Lazenby has written some incredible sports books in the past, including Bull Run, a book that I read until it was ragged as a kid. But this one might be the best and most interesting of all.

I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Mr. Lazenby, in which we talked about Michael Jordan's fascinating family history--from which he got his intensity and competitive fire--along with his impact on marketing, politics, and whether any of the urban legends about him are true.