You’ll have to excuse me if I takes a few minutes of your time away from Linsanity to honor the G.O.A.T. on his birthday. Michael Jordan turns 49 today and besides feeling really old myself, it’s kind of crazy to think MJ’s a year away from the big 5-0. Shut up, you’re getting old too. There isn’t much to say about Jordan that hasn’t already been said thousands of times, but I feel it’s imperative to share the importance that MJ had on my life growing up.
If I didn’t grow up in the 80′s & 90′s with MJ ruling the basketball world, I wouldn’t have developed the deep love I have for the game of basketball. He’s the reason that I put up with the silliness of today’s stars like a certain Miami Heat player who is teasing the city of Cleveland about a potential return instead of working on his post up game. LeBron’s stupidity and immaturity only enhances Jordan’s legacy.
Why is that you ask? Because we should be witnessing the modern era MJ instead of a glory hound “global icon.” NBA fans are being cheated out f seeing the biggest physical freak in the history of the league, because he’s too concerned with off the court endeavors. Honestly, Jordan had more desire to win in his pinkie than James has in his entire 6’8 265 pound body. How sad is that? When the young star’s of today’s NBA (we’re taking Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant out of this semi repulsive group) show how indifferent they are to improving their games compared to building their brand, it reinforces the fact just how spoiled we were with Jordan.
Unlike LeBron and the divalicious crew, Jordan allowed his game to help him become the biggest star on the planet. He didn’t need to consume himself with his “brand” because he was too driven to become the best player on the planet. Winning is what consumed Jordan, not celebrity. It wasn’t what could the game do for me, it was, what could I do for the game? What Jordan knew was all of the off the court stuff would be there as long as he won. It’s no coincidence that Jordan reached the peak of his celebrity once he started rattling off titles.
Today’s stars owe a great deal of gratitude to Jordan for allowing them to be the household names they are. Jordan changed everything, including how we view NBA stars. But he did it in a way where it was genuine, and not scripted like virtually everything Kobe Bryant does or says. We aren’t stupid, we can tell realness from imitation from a mile away. These guys may flop all over the court, but they aren’t De Niro quality actors. That’s why so many have the disdain for Kobe like they do. There isn’t that human element that was there with Jordan.
As for LeBron, we still don’t know what kind of person he is. He is robotic and extremely guarded. There’s nothing wrong with that, except we know James is image conscious because of “the decision” and the vitriol that was spewed his way. People don’t relate to him because he has never shown any personality. He changes his demeanor & how he talks based on the situation. No wonder people don’t like him. Why else do you think he has been trying to humanize himself in his commercials since his embarrassing finals performance last June?
The beauty of Jordan was fans could relate to him. Was he perfect? Far from it. But fans related to him because of the womanizing & the gambling because it showed he wasn’t perfect. It was like, “Hmm, MJ is human.” For me personally, I appreciated that side of Jordan because it proved he wasn’t a robot, or wasn’t forcing an image down our throats from ’92 on.
How about that story about MJ from an all-star weekend several years ago that Bill Simmons wrote about… MJ, Charles Oakley & some friends were drinking, eating & hanging with some women having a great time at some restaurant like any red blooded American man would given the opportunity. And wouldn’t you know it, when Juanita walked in, MJ’s mood changed quicker than his 1st step. How many married/or seriously committed men have dealt with that before? He was human, and people noticed his reaction. We like to relate to celebrities in any way possible. In the same situation, Kobe probably would have been petrified to show any emotion.
Look at this shit, I’m almost 800 words in and I didn’t even plan on writing today. I raised my game today because MJ deserves the praise. I don’t care how atrocious his personnel evaluating might be, he provided me with memories growing up that will last a lifetime. Happy 49th, Mike. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that today’s stars are doing nothing but enhancing your legacy because of their immaturity & “brand building.” Salute.