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23 09/11/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports.
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The game that James Naysmith invented today enshrines its best player in to its place of honor.  Today, Michael Jordon is a Hall of Famer.

Nike told us we all wanted to “be like Mike.”  Air Jordan became not just a nickname, but the kicks every kid had to have despite the price tag.mj5  Jordon became a corporate giant, not just a basketball player.  Heck, he even starred in his own Disney movie with Daffy and Buggs and the gang.  He became powerful enough to get a coach (Doug Collins) replaced before he even won an NBA championship.  And, he was simply the best.  Ever.

There will never be another Jordan.  No one will ever again dominate the sport the way he did.  Not Kobie.  Certainly not James.  Michael emerged from tne shadows of two greats, and and grew to outshine both.  The NBA was the league of Larry Legend and the Magic Man.  Jordon played against both.  For a while, the three of them reigned along side each other.  Then Bird and Johnson retired.  The NBA became Mike’s personal playground.   And he was unstoppable.  He was a defensive star.  He learned to drain the three ball.  And when the tounge came out, he showed that man could fly!   The sheer joy he played with, and the enjoyment he gave to fans will not be matched.

mj4He led the Bulls to three straight NBA ctowns.  Then, at age 30,  he suddenly retired from the game following his father’s untimely death.  He played baseball for two years in the White Sox organization before announcing his return to the NBA in March 1995 with a simple 2 word text: “I’m back!”   And Back he was.  The Bulls made the playoffs a month later, but lost in the Conference Semi’s.  Jordan’s first full season back, however, was one for the record books.  He lead the Bulls to a record 72 wins in the regular season. And then to the first title in Chicago’s second three peat.  Six titles in 8 seasons.  Who knows what would have happened if Jordan had not left the game after his father’s death.

The accolades are all there.  By the numbers, Jordan is a :  6 time NBA champion, 6 time Finals MVP, 14 time NBA All Star, 2 time Olympic Gold Medal winner,  1985 NBA Rookie of the Year, 1988 NBA Defensive player of the year, 9 time NBA All-Defensive First Team Selection; and the list goes on.  But they are a mere sideshow of the fame of Michael.  He became basketball.  He became a one man corporate conglomeration.  He took endorsements to a new level.  And he embodied the pure joy of sports.  Sure, he had his issues.  He was human.  There were gambeling problems, and other things.  And that comeback in Wadhingion.  But when he put the Bulls Jersey on, he took us all to new heights.  And for that we say Thank You, Mr Jordon.

Others may wear the number (Ahem, are you listening Mr. James?) but 23 will ALWAYS be Jordan.  There will only be one Michael.mj3

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