Michael Leahy (author)

Michael Leahy (author)
Michael Leahy
Born Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Occupation Author, Journalist
Genres Nonfiction
Notable work(s) When Nothing Else Matters
Hard Lessons

Michael Leahy is an author and award-winning writer for The Washington Post and The Washington Post Magazine. He is best known for his second book, When Nothing Else Matters, which chronicles basketball superstar Michael Jordan's last comeback to the NBA.[1] Leahy's stories have also been selected for the 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 editions of The Best American Sports Writing anthologies.[2] His first book, Hard Lessons, follows the lives of six Beverly Hills High School students, class of 1986, and deals with the challenges and anxieties of teenage life in modern America.[3]


Early life

Leahy was born in Newark, New Jersey. At age 10, he moved with his family to a suburb of Los Angeles, California. He is a graduate of Yale University.


A highly regarded feature writer known for his intimate portraits of subjects, Leahy explores everything from social issues to sports. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and his work has appeared in Playboy Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Leahy has published two non-fiction books: Hard Lessons (1988) and When Nothing Else Matters (2004), which was heralded by GQ Magazine as "the best sports book of the year."

Along the way, he has written about subjects as wide-ranging as presidential politics, rural poverty, obesity in the American South, malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, the housecleaner dubbed fisherman-savior of Elian Gonzalez, the Army’s recruiting efforts amid the specter of the Iraq war, corporate scandals, a nudist camp, his mother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s, and the playing comeback of basketball legend Michael Jordan in Washington.


  • In 2006, his Washington Post Magazine story about a single mother from Massachusetts who took her two young children across the country to meet their father – a sperm donor known to the woman for years only as Donor 929 – won honors from the Society of Professional Journalists as the best magazine story in the country for that year.


In his review of When Nothing Else Matters, English journalist Simon Barnes of The Times wrote "A better book, a perceptive writer, might have noticed that there was something heroic in all this: but Leahy is too deeply committed to his premise that everything Jordan does is, by definition, shameful."


Leahy resides with his wife and son in a suburb of Washington D.C.


  1. ^ Barnes, Simon. "When Nothing Else Matters by Michael Leahy", The Times, January 15, 2005. Accessed April 12, 2008.
  2. ^ Michael Leahy, Simon & Schuster. Accessed April 12, 2008.
  3. ^ Hailey, Kendall. "Down and Out at Beverly Hills High HARD LESSONS Senior Year at Beverly Hills High School by Michael Leahy", The Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1988. Accessed April 12, 2008.


Cramer, Richard (editor). (2004a) The Best American Sports Writing, New York. Houghton Mifflin Company.

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