Harrison Faigen is a young writer who is getting his reps in....
A Fansmanship Series, Part 1 of 10: The 10 Most Unlike Mike Moments
This series was born out of guilt.
I grew up idolizing Michael Jordan, like one would a god. Collected his cards, modeled my jump shot, the tongue wag and the up and under layups after him. The man was divinity. He was other-worldly. Alien. Someone unparalleled throughout time.
But now that I have grown up I see reality for what it is. MJ, like any other human, was full of luck, flaws and failures. Thus this Fansmanship series was born, beginning with Mike’s imperfectly perfect legacy.
1) Space Jam? Seriously? Who knew Mike in the peek of his career needed a face lift from bugs bunny? He was a three – time champion at the time and ruler of the league.
But ruler of space? It just can’t get more shame – worthy than that. The man was a brand in and of himself, and he sold out to become a lead of a cartoon and one of the most ridiculously cheesy songs in musical history.
Then again, he was playing baseball, and dropping routine fly balls.
2) A true passing of the torch? Okay, I won’t go that far. But the young Iverson sure made the 34- year old Mike look geriatric in 1997. It was one of the only times in memory, I can recall an opposing player out dueling the great like that.
3) If it wasn’t weird enough seeing MJ play baseball and star in Space Jam, it got even weirder when he returned in 1995 to the game of basketball, wearing a number 45 jersey! Jordan was clearly only a shell of his former self shooting, 7 for 28 from the floor with a mediocre 19 points.
4) Forgive the long recording. In fact, skip ahead to around 6 minutes and watch from that point forward. What you will see will amaze you. A return to his infamous 23 (after wearing 45 for most the season) meant Mike was officially back, but not so fast. In the final two – minutes in a decisive game 6 with his team’s back against the wall, Mike shoots 0-3 from the floor, air balls a jump shot and turns the ball over twice. There goes my fantasy of him winning every series en route to a title.
5) Motivational, bla bla bla. Nothing was motivational about Mike in a baseball uniform. He looked awkward. I really couldn’t find anything better than this to describe his pathetic stint at baseball, where from 1994 to 1995, he hit .227 in the minors. Mike was the Luc Longley of his second sport. How awe-inspiring is that?
6) Let’s not deny the truth: MJ was a jerk. This is the guy who fought his own teammate, Steve Kerr, in practice because Kerr hit a three point shot over him. But one thing Mike wasn’t, was unprofessional. He was the consummate pro able to keep his cool in big game moments. Well…not so much this night against the Jazz, when he bumped the referee (yes bumped) en route to getting tossed.
7) I hope a bolt of lightning doesn’t strike me dead for this, but the infamous “shrug” in game one of the 1992 NBA Finals against the Portland Trailblazers was incredibly unlike Mike. At this point in his career, he was a 28 percent three point shooter. But on this night, the best defense was Mike’s lucky offense. He hit 6 threes in the first half, scoring an NBA Finals record 39 first half points.
8) I hated MJ in a Wizards uniform. It got awfully annoying watching him retire, return, retire. And this time I was, like a teeny bop Fresnoid, “over it.” He was fat and slow and looked more like post – 1999 lockout Shawn Kemp, than his usual slender athletic self. This missed dunk says it all. What is that vert? 14 inches?
9) Again, please no lightning bolts. But wasn’t Mike so good he could get open, fair and square, against anyone? Not.So.Fast. While I agree there is no better way than this for Mike to cap his famed Bull career, this was a serious push off on a superior defender Bryon Russell and an offensive foul. Mike needed a little shove off, to get open at the ripe age of 36.
10) So, I’m super bummed because my favorite all – time favorite player, came back one to many times and sounded like an arrogant buffoon in his hall of fame speech, forever tainting his legacy. I’m sorry Mike, but you just sound stupid. Real talk here. You sound comprehensively self obsessed. What happened to the man who made others around him better?