I’ve gone international on this one. The only way I could properly pay tribute to Michael Jordan, was to have a native of Chicago do it for me. It would be more passionate, and more heart would be given towards it. I asked Sean to do this post because he’s a die-hard Chicagoan, and he reps his teams to the fullest amounts. He also has an outgoing personality that would throw life into it, so please indulge in this, as he pays homage to the G.O.A.T on his birthday
In anything, whether it is sports, music, or something else, there is always a debate as to who is the greatest of all time. There will always be the discussion of, would Babe Ruth be the greatest hitter of all time if he played in the era of Randy Johnson’s and Roger Clemens’. People will always debate The Beatles or The Stones, Biggie or Tupac, Star Wars or Star Trek. But in basketball, there is no question as to who is the G.O.A.T. That man is Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
No single man has ever transcended his own sport quite like MJ has. He’s an icon, a phenomenon, a brand. His popularity extends across the world, through his global presence and the high demand of his Jordan shoe brand. Every nation, every race, and every language knows him as “His Airness,” a king among men in his sport. Men who every night he made his noble peasants.
You can name his on-the-court accomplishments and even then you can call him the greatest. 6 time NBA champion. 6 time NBA Finals MVP. 5 time regular season MVP. He was a national champion at the University of North Carolina, a 14-time NBA All-Star, a 10-time NBA Scoring Champion, 10-time All-NBA First Team, 9-time All Defensive First Team. He’s scored 32,292 points, 4th best in NBA history. He’s the only man other than Wilt Chamberlain to average over 30 points a game throughout his career. His biography on the NBA website states that, by acclamation, he is “the greatest basketball player of all time.”
Being a very young kid growing up in Chicago, Jordan was larger than life. An idol of every kid in Chicago even past the day he retired for a second time in January 1999. I can remember going to games during the second 3-peat, games against the Cavs and the Raptors, Timberwolves and Lakers, even a conference finals game versus the Heat. Every game, Michael took over. As young as I was, seeing Michael, let alone the dominant Bulls team of the 90s, was a spectacle to behold. You sat there in the United Center, then a brand new arena, and take in the aura of MJ. The grace of his play, his stout defense, his potent jump shot, his dunks, they were all simply a sight to see.
Even sitting here, I can’t find much to write about MJ to truly explain his greatness. Maybe there aren’t enough words, or maybe because the footage speaks for itself. His legendary 63 point game against the Celtics. His even more legendary slam dunk contests against Dominique Wilkins. The Shot over Craig Ehlo. The Shot II. MJ posterizing Patrick Ewing. Switching hands on the lay-up over the Lakers. “The Shrug” against the Blazers. The Dream Team. The double nickel against the Knicks. Fathers Day 1996. The Flu Game. His final shot as a Chicago Bull. Even then, it still might be impossible to understand the greatness of Michael Jordan.
Spike Lee, I mean, Mars Blackmon said it best. “It’s gotta be the shoes!” As expensive as they may be, Air Jordans advanced the sneaker, or as Chicagoans call it, “the Gym Shoe” to a whole ‘nother level. Basketball shoes soon became fashion, and it didn’t hurt that the best in the game wore them. Most of them designed by the legend Tinker Hatfield, with retro kicks being released in new colorways and popular colorways being re-released, Jordans are more popular today than they were during his playing days.
The comparisons to find the next Michael have gone on since his first retirement. Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James have all been called his “Air Apparent.” But in reality, there will be only one G.O.A.T. No one will ever truly compare to Michael Jeffrey Jordan.