Today, Michael Jeffery Jordan will be inducted into the pro basketball hall of fame. (Watch the induction on ESPN today at 6:30 pm ET.)He is the greatest to play the game. Some statistics (from NBA.com): Six-time NBA champion (1991-93, 1996-98); MVP (1988, '91, '92, '96, '98); 10-time All-NBA First Team (1987-93, 1996-98); All-NBA Second Team (1985); Defensive Player of the Year (1988); Nine-time All-Defensive First Team (1988-93, 1996-98); Rookie of the Year (1985); 14-time All-Star; All-Star MVP (1988, '96, '98); One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History ('96); Olympic gold medalist (1984, '92). And those are just professional highlights.
Sportwriters have and will continue to describe Jordan with much more determined eloquence than I muster this fine morning: About him not making the basketball team in high school. How he revolutionized the game--on and off the court. (Sorry young kids, Kobe is a bratty, entitled mimic; to say the least, he lacks creativity.) How he outworked everybody, and made his teammates so much better. They'll talk of how he re-invented the game. Baggy shorts? Jordan. Bald head? Jordan. What was Nike before Jordan? What was Gatorade before Jordan? What was the NBA before Jordan? And so on.
All I can say is that I grew up watching this guy, tirelessly rooted for him. I hate the Detroit Pistons to this day. I can still hear kinky Marv Albert saying "JORRRR-DAN!" after an amazing play. I look for MJ's statue every time I drive by the United Center. Like nearly everybody else, I adored the guy.
Say what you will about Jordan and capitalism, his generally apolitical stance, his lack of fashion sense. That debate is for another day. Today we honor the basketball player. Jordan, the basketball player, cannot be discussed with equivocation. He was simply the best, the greatest. And if we were all a little bit more like Mike on the court, maybe the world wouldn't suck so bad.
Thanks for the memories, Mike. Thanks for the example:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -- Michael Jordan