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zizo
10-26-2011, 02:24 PM
Fall 1999
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University




In celebrating Jordan as a hero, are we merely worshipping capitalism?

By Michael Crowley

Michael Jordan’s retirement from the NBA in January was not just a sports story but an international news event. His farewell press conference was
carried live on CNN, his face graced the front page of The New York Times, and when a White House event overlapped with Jordan’s announcement, even Bill Clinton noted that “most of the cameras are somewhere else.”

Obviously, the hysteria had a lot to do with Jordan’s unrivaled mastery of the game. But the Jordan phenomenon is much bigger than his scoring titles and six championship rings. Jordan has transcended his on-court achievements to become something more: a ubiquitous corporate pitchman who hawks for giant companies like Coke, McDonald’s and Nike, an entertainer whose role in the movie “Space Jam” helped it gross $450 million—in sum, he is the world’s biggest celebrity.

But he is even more than a celebrity. He is something much rarer: a hero. Jordan is almost universally adored, not just as a great player but as a man of honorable character. In a recent survey of Chinese students Jordan tied with Zhou Enlai as “the world’s greatest man.” The old Gatorade slogan “Be Like Mike” may be out of circulation, but the sentiment remains: Jordan is the ultimate role model.

Yet it might be worth pausing, in the midst of all this adulation, to ask just what kind of hero we have chosen. Some sports legends—Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe—were respected as much for their personalities and ideals as for their athletic prowess. And while he can match and perhaps exceed the athletic accomplishments of men such as these, Jordan doesn’t even compete when it comes to having a lasting, noncommercial impact on society.


The truth is that Jordan’s is not an especially interesting personality. He tends to be bland, never spontaneous, sometimes petulant, and often arrogant. He is ruthlessly competitive, although not in the same comically endearing way as Ali. And Jordan has so far been utterly disinterested in discovering the potential that a man of his fame, wealth and stature possesses to make the world even a slightly better place.

Ultimately, what Jordan represents aren’t so much values as the capitalist principles of relentless competition and the bounty of total victory. He is a monument to the self. And with the stock market soaring and political participation plummeting, perhaps he is the icon of our time.

With virtually no dissent, the American media—and not just sportswriters—have unquestioningly accepted the Jordan mythology. Dozens of news commentators have proclaimed Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time, hands down, as if Wilt Chamberlain somehow doesn’t count because he played before the advent of ESPN. But the hagiography extends beyond the question and coverage of Jordan’s athletic abilities. It often seems that Jordan’s consistent ability to win has worked to inflate our estimation of his character.

Because Jordan was nearly perfect on the court, there seemed to be a desire to find perfection in his character as well. “What made Jordan special was his demanding code of personal excellence,” The New York Times declared. Even a writer as wise as David Halberstam, for instance, can’t resist calling Jordan the “most charismatic” player the game has seen—apparently ignoring the affable likes of Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Walt Frazier and others, and embellishing Jordan’s bland persona.

When Jordan flashed a less amicable side—when he reportedly called New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy a “****ing hockey puck,” for instance—the press tended to chuckle and dismiss it. Critical assessments of Jordan seemed to be off-limits. And why was it that only Time magazine and one Milwaukee newspaper ran a story about a woman who filed a paternity suit against Jordan last year?

Admittedly, Jordan has taken his lumps in the media, most notably when stories emerged several years ago about his gambling habits. But it’s plainly evident that members of the media never really questioned whether Jordan is everything an American hero should be.

Looking Beneath Jordan’s Commercial Persona

Although he was deservedly praised as a decent guy with a common touch with lesser mortals, Jordan’s personality has always been rather bland. Far less colorful than several of his contemporaries, Jordan inevitably spoke in throwaway clichés and hollow jock jargon. At his brief retirement press conference, Jordan was his typically banal self, using variations of the word “challenge” 20 times. He may have illuminated our understanding of the sport with deeds, but never with words.

And although the NBA and his corporate patrons, including the Disney corporation, created a gentle, smiling and gracious persona for Jordan, this wasn’t always the case. Jordan was, undoubtedly, polite to the media and his fans, graceful and composed in public. But he had a darker side, one explored in Sam Smith’s 1992 book “The Jordan Rules” (Pocket Books). Smith depicted Jordan as selfish, arrogant, obsessed with statistics, and disparaging to his teammates, whom he once referred to as “my supporting cast.” Over the years he never hesitated to yell at teammates who failed to pass him the ball. As recently as a 1998 NBA Finals game, Jordan shouted at Bulls forward Scottie Pippen for not passing him the ball—after Pippen had drained a game-tying three-pointer.

His Airness is also a famously thin-skinned fellow. Criticism is often cause for massive retaliation, as Sports Illustrated learned after it published a 1993 article mocking his ill-fated stint as a baseball player. Jordan stopped talking to reporters from the magazine for years; some editors even believe that Jordan intentionally leaked word of his retirement just after that week’s edition of SI had gone to press.

Jordan’s sharp edges seem to grow from his intense competitive drive, which has been the object of much awed admiration. But it was often excessive by any standards. Never famous for sportsmanship, Jordan was one of the nastiest trash-talkers of his day, and he loved to humiliate his rivals. As his former coach Doug Collins once said, “He wants to cut your heart out and
then show it to you.” Nor was he gracious in losing. He was known to petulantly sweep the pieces off a board game when things weren’t going his way. Halberstam writes that in college Jordan frigidly refused to speak to an assistant coach who had beaten him repeatedly in pool and even cheated at golf. “If you challenge him,” Toronto Raptors coach and former player Darrell Walker told The Toronto Star last year, “he can be a very vindictive person.”

This apparent pathology may explain the taste for high-stakes gambling that is the one real blotch on Jordan’s sterling reputation. Jordan admitted in 1992 to paying $165,000 in poker and golf debts to a pair of unsavory characters, one of whom was later murdered. And a former golfing partner wrote a book claiming that Michael had lost $1.25 million on the links in 10 days. (A penitent Jordan admitted betting with the man but said the figures had been exaggerated.) Rumors still linger that Jordan’s debts were a factor in his startling first “retirement” in 1993—some suggest that the league insisted he lay low for a while.

Jordan’s obsession with victory—however meaningless, be it in golf or cards—is hailed as an inspiring example of his personal excellence. Yet even his father wondered about this side of Jordan. “My son doesn’t have a gambling problem,” James Jordan once said. “He has a competition problem.”

zizo
10-26-2011, 02:26 PM
Keeping His Distance From Social Issues

Despite his ever-growing wealth and influence, Jordan has never shown much interest in shaping the world that lies at his feet. He carefully dodged any political issue that might have jeopardized his family-friendly image. When asked in 1992 about the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, for instance, Jordan lamely replied: “I need to know more about it.” He refused to take a side in the tight 1990 North Carolina Senate race in which Jesse Helms, despised by many blacks, was challenged by a black man, Harvey Gantt. Approached by Gantt’s campaign, Jordan declined to get involved, reportedly offering this explanation: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

That statement is quintessential Jordan. Jordan has remained devoutly apolitical. He has never used his platform to pursue social or political change; indeed, he’s gone out of his way to play it safe. This is, of course, precisely how the corporations he endorses want it. Politics and successful marketing don’t mix. (Jordan has recently been quietly supporting Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley, but that appears to be a favor to Jordan’s former coach and Bradley pal Phil Jackson.)

Informed punditry may be too much to expect of pro athletes. Yet Jordan has also dodged matters over which he has a more direct influence. As inner-city leaders decried the $150 price tag on his Nike Air Jordan sneakers, which are targeted at the kids who can least afford them, Jordan never spoke up. By contrast, in 1996 NBA forward Chris Webber publicly feuded with Nike about the cost of shoes it sold in his name.

Better known is Jordan’s shoulder-shrug over Nike’s allegedly exploitative labor practices in Southeast Asia. Jordan first said it wasn’t his problem, but later said he would travel to Asia, explaining that “if it’s an issue of slavery or sweatshops, [Nike executives] have to revise the situation.” Yet even after acknowledging the specter of “slavery,” Jordan never made the trip.

Yes, he has done his share of good works. Jordan has donated millions to charity and to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Every year he visits with dozens of dying children whose last wish it is to meet him. If there’s a heaven, he will surely be rewarded there. But there are still places of hell on Earth and much more Jordan could do with his money and power. Yet he has made no deeper effort to take advantage of his unique cultural pedestal.

Jordan’s avoidance of social issues hasn’t escaped criticism. Several well-known pro athletes—including such black champions as Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown and Hank Aaron—have knocked Jordan for being politically aloof. “He’s more interested in his image for his shoe deals than he is in helping his own people,” Brown said of Jordan in 1992.

Asked in January whether he would become more politically active now that he’s retired, Jordan answered: “I can’t save the world by no means.” But there’s plenty of room between saving the planet and doing nothing. Jordan might, as Brown has, insist on more blacks in sports management. Or, as Jesse Jackson does, he could press for more corporate hiring and investment in black communities. Or he could sponsor ads reminding kids that school is a safer route to success than basketball. Or he could speak out against handguns with the moral authority of a man whose father was killed by one.

In fairness, Jordan is no exception among his contemporaries. His equivalents in other sports—Tiger Woods, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mark McGwire—aren’t known for their political engagement, either. But it’s not unheard-of for modern-day athletes to take political stands. His outspoken Bulls teammate Craig Hodges once showed up at a White House ceremony in a dashiki with a letter for George Bush on the plight of the inner cities. “I can’t go and just be in an Armani suit and not say ****,” Hodges later told The Village Voice.

In 1993, NBA forward Olden Polynice staged a hunger strike to protest U.S. policy toward his native Haiti. Though they were second-tier players, both Hodges and Polynice drew national media coverage nevertheless. Imagine what Michael Jordan could do with a single television ad or press conference! As Jesse Jackson told The Washington Post in 1996: “If [sports stars] can sell these wares with the power of their personas, they also can sell civic responsibility with the power of their personas.”

And the fact remains that Jordan is not the same as Tiger Woods or Mark McGwire. No one else has achieved his global stature, his corporate clout.

In the end, perhaps Michael Jordan simply reflects our times in much the way that Muhammad Ali epitomized the values of the 1960’s. Just as Ali was a symbol for the social and political energy of his day, so Jordan stands for the apathy and commercialism of our times. Ali was a rebel. Jordan is a brand name. After all, a recorded message at Jordan’s personal office informs callers that “the majority of Michael Jordan fan mail and autograph requests will be acknowledged by Nike, Inc.”

So perhaps in worshipping Michael Jordan we are celebrating nothing less than capitalism itself. The winner takes all, and we cheer wildly. Perhaps society will never idolize underpaid idealists and clumsy altruists the way it elevates sports titans like Michael Jordan. But whatever happened to the old maxim that winning isn’t everything?


http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102181/Muhammad-Ali-Was-a-Rebel-Michael-Jordan-Is-a-Brand-Name.aspx

Dade County
10-26-2011, 02:33 PM
$$$ :)

Thats what he is about.

ink
10-26-2011, 02:37 PM
Great read. He makes a lot of great points about the people we turn into heroes in this sport. Jordan was a phenomenon, more exciting to watch than anyone we had ever really seen before, more dominant, more athletic, more everything. But he has inspired wave after wave of pretenders and it has changed the game for the worse. As amazing as it was to watch MJ play, his influence hasn't been that positive in the long run. Props to the writer of the article for challenging the hero hype. And note that I'm not saying that any of the solo stars of today are better. What I'm actually saying is that, in trying to be like Mike or better than Mike, they have sold the game short, and we've all lost out. The game is now less than the so-called superstars, and that really started with MJ.

iggypop123
10-26-2011, 04:01 PM
there is certainly a cult of personality for jordan but thats happening for players these days, its almost as a counter to the new stars today. kobe got 5 titles. nope he is a horrible human being and cant be in the conversation. etc

blastmasta26
10-26-2011, 04:38 PM
Jordan was a douche, but he was the greatest player to play. It kind of annoys me when people claim that Jordan is considered the best only because of commercialism and marketing when in actuality, all evidence points towards his dominance. Wilt isn't considered the best because of the era he played in, when the pace was significantly faster than the modern game.

Hellcrooner
10-26-2011, 04:47 PM
Jordan was a douche, but he was the greatest player to play. It kind of annoys me when people claim that Jordan is considered the best only because of commercialism and marketing when in actuality, all evidence points towards his dominance. Wilt isn't considered the best because of the era he played in, when the pace was significantly faster than the modern game.

rtuth hurts he is one of the greatest ever, but that unbeatable and undisputable goat thing is all marketing.

Hellcrooner
10-26-2011, 04:48 PM
btw people , lets make your bets

over or under 20 posts till Jordanbulls enters the thread and posts his B.S artlice of Magic johnson not wanting to join the bulls on his draft year.

Sactown
10-26-2011, 04:51 PM
rtuth hurts he is one of the greatest ever, but that unbeatable and undisputable goat thing is all marketing.

I think Michael Jordan lets his game do the talking.. and his game says "In the 12 years I played for Chicago I gained 6 rings.." and I don't think ESPN won those rings for him either..

Hellcrooner
10-26-2011, 05:02 PM
I think Michael Jordan lets his game do the talking.. and his game says "In the 12 years I played for Chicago I gained 6 rings.." and I don't think ESPN won those rings for him either..

i bring you a non called offensive foul at "the shot", a7th game shoudl ahve been played.

Sactown
10-26-2011, 05:04 PM
i bring you a non called offensive foul at "the shot", a7th game shoudl ahve been played.

Oh in that case let's go through every single playoff game and let's see who's been cheated of a ring.. :facepalm: some calls go your way some don't I don't believe there was a conspiracy to get Jordan another ring

8kobe24
10-26-2011, 05:53 PM
Great read...Jordan is a basketball hero and a "baskeball god", now turned into a very successful businessman. The man is no saint, but I don't think that was his agenda to begin with. His goal was $$$, I'm sure that he wanted to somehow make a positive difference in the world, but in the end he was not willing to risk his neck and $$$ should he had taken a political stand. Sad, but can we really blame somebody for being all about the $$$?

blastmasta26
10-26-2011, 05:54 PM
rtuth hurts he is one of the greatest ever, but that unbeatable and undisputable goat thing is all marketing.
It really is undisputable if you look at the advanced statistics. Jordan wasn't astronomically superior to the all-time greats, but he is clearly the best, however small the margin.

KingsMadness44
10-26-2011, 06:21 PM
i bring you a non called offensive foul at "the shot", a7th game shoudl ahve been played.

dude you realize you're trying to sell that to a kings fan on bad calls/no calls right?

Rentzias
10-27-2011, 09:39 AM
This has always been a criticism on him, and one that I've agreed with, but people here should probably learn to separate the argument between Jordan's skills and Jordan's socio-political output, which pales in comparison to, say, Bill Russell (right, the rings too). GOAT hoop player though.

Sinestro
10-27-2011, 10:26 AM
I would have loved or would still love for Jordan to play a more active role in politics and social issues however, not everyone is up for that or feel they should get involved and share their opinions that said I do feel more NBA superstars should attempt to spread their word and opinions more because of their influence

Evolution23
10-27-2011, 12:13 PM
You can't market Lebron like you can Jordan. Maybe it has something to do with greatness and winning over hype?

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 12:46 PM
You can't market Lebron like you can Jordan. Maybe it has something to do with greatness and winning over hype?

jordan entered his 7th season ringless, and he was already being marketed much more than Lebron has ever been.

whitemamba33
10-27-2011, 01:05 PM
If I'm Michael Jordan, I'm responding to this article by saying: "So what?"

He did his job. He never said he was going to tackle justice issues around the world, he never said he was going to be a "rebel". He got payed to put a ball through a hoop, and he did it better than anyone. And as much as some of you are labeling this a good read, unless the author has access to a full list of MJ's contributions outside of the game of basketball, I don't see how he feels he is qualified to write this.

Barkley said it better than anyone: "I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL"

JordansBulls
10-27-2011, 01:14 PM
btw people , lets make your bets

over or under 20 posts till Jordanbulls enters the thread and posts his B.S artlice of Magic johnson not wanting to join the bulls on his draft year.

How is it BS when Magic himself said it?

ink
10-27-2011, 01:17 PM
I think the question the article is asking is "what kind of heroes are we picking?", does MJ have the substance to be idolized. I think the answer is no. He was a great competitor period. But it does say something about the lack of character the NBAs "heroes" have in general.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 01:25 PM
jordans probably the best to ever play the game and probably the best at making money off his fame as well.

he wasnt just a basketball player. he had a businessman mentality other wise he would never be working with companies like nike that actually have child labourers in india till this day.

i dont think jordan cared much for his social responsibility. he was more about making money and leaving a legacy. but you know what thats the north american society and the world we live in. its all about "winning, getting ahead, coming out on top" in whatever you do now a days. and i guess he is a hero if that is what you idolize.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 01:32 PM
jordan entered his 7th season ringless, and he was already being marketed much more than Lebron has ever been.

true but then he went on to win 2 back to back to back titles. if lebron does that he is totally redeemed :rolleyes:

ink
10-27-2011, 01:33 PM
jordans probably the best to ever play the game and probably the best at making money off his fame as well.

he wasnt just a basketball player. he had a businessman mentality. other wise he would never be working with companies like nike that actually have child labourers in india till this day.

i dont think jordan cared much for his social responsibility. he was more about making money and leaving a legacy. but you know what. thats what the north american society and the world we live in.

Finally a post that's on topic. A lot of the earlier posts in the thread seem to be on about the usual "MJ is the GOAT" stuff. I think you're right that Jordan didn't care much about social responsibility, he was a businessman, albeit a pretty lousy one if you look at his basketball ownership and management.

So the question remains: is he worthy of worship like some of the other sports heroes we've had? Good question. Perhaps that's why most NBA stars only stand for themselves and for the money they can make, lacking any real substance beyond that. It's a crass group of players with a few notable exceptions like Steve Nash.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 01:36 PM
Finally a post that's on topic. A lot of the earlier posts in the thread seem to be on about the usual "MJ is the GOAT" stuff. I think you're right that Jordan didn't care much about social responsibility, he was a businessman, albeit a pretty lousy one if you look at his basketball ownership and management.

So the question remains: is he worthy of worship like some of the other sports heroes we've had? Good question. Perhaps that's why most NBA stars only stand for themselves and for the money they can make, lacking any real substance beyond that. It's a crass group of players with a few notable exceptions like Steve Nash.

What should we look for as an sports idol then?

you need to separate the court from outside the court.

I agree tough that Jordan is the ultimate capitalists dream selling cow idol tough.

Do you find more suitable as an hero someone antisystem like say Bobby Fisher.?

ink
10-27-2011, 01:42 PM
What should we look for as an sports idol then?

you need to separate the court from outside the court.

I agree tough that Jordan is the ultimate capitalists dream selling cow idol tough.

Do you find more suitable as an hero someone antisystem like say Bobby Fisher.?

The article is contrasting heroes: MJ vs Ali, where Ali was part of the fight for human rights and equality. MJ just wants to make a buck and doesn't stand for anything else. Sadly, I could say exactly the same thing for a lot of the current NBA stars we idolize. The question is: do they deserve hero worship?

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 01:44 PM
The article is contrasting heroes: MJ vs Ali, where Ali was part of the fight for human rights and equality. MJ just wants to make a buck and doesn't stand for anything else. Sadly, I could say exactly the same thing for a lot of the current NBA stars we idolize. The question is: do they deserve hero worship?

No, but no sportmans or artist should be worshiped.

damm NO ONE should be worshiped to be honest.

ink
10-27-2011, 01:50 PM
No, but no sportmans or artist should be worshiped.

damm NO ONE should be worshiped to be honest.

I agree with you. But we see tons of worship in this forum. We see posters fighting the same fights again and again to defend their favourite star. Sad really.

If there was less worship, less cult of the personality, in basketball, we'd see better teams, better team play, better understanding of the game as a team sport. But instead we miss the point of the sport and destroy it by idolizing heroes that really don't even deserve the idolatry.

Just let them be part of a team. Then their egos would start to fade away and we could get down to basketball. It might take a generation but it would improve the game.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 01:56 PM
I agree with you. But we see tons of worship in this forum. We see posters fighting the same fights again and again to defend their favourite star. Sad really.

If there was less worship, less cult of the personality, in basketball, we'd see better teams, better team play, better understanding of the game as a team sport. But instead we miss the point of the sport and destroy it by idolizing heroes that really don't even deserve the idolatry.

Just let them be part of a team. Then their egos would start to fade away and we could get down to basketball. It might take a generation but it would improve the game.

Well thats what would happen if more people thought bout Magic ( or Oscar or Russell or Bird or Duncan) being the goat as opposed to think Jordan is the goat ( or wilt or Kobe)

Different aproachs to the game.

Btw the same concept of Goat is wrong ( and media led) because you cant compare apple to oranges nor apples from 1960s to apples now.

ink
10-27-2011, 02:00 PM
Well thats what would happen if more people thought bout Magic ( or Oscar or Russell or Bird or Duncan) being the goat as opposed to think Jordan is the goat ( or wilt or Kobe)

Different aproachs to the game.

Btw the same concept of Goat is wrong ( and media led) because you cant compare apple to oranges nor apples from 1960s to apples now.

I agree that the whole GOAT concept is absurd. The players I follow come from the first stream: Magic, Oscar, Russell, Bird, Duncan ...

These are players that get that there's a brilliance to making the game work as a team game. When that type of gifted team player plays it's the most amazing game on earth.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 02:02 PM
"eligible for the draft and induction into the U.S. Army during a time when the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. When notified of this status, he declared that he would refuse to serve in the United States Army and publicly considered himself a conscientious objector.[12] Ali stated that "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." Ali famously said in 1966: "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me ******." Rare for a heavyweight boxing champion in those days, Ali spoke at Howard University, where he gave his popular "Black Is Best" speech to 4,000 cheering students and community intellectuals after he was invited to speak at Howard by a Howard sociology professor, Nathan Hare, on behalf of the Black Power Committee, a student protest group."

Appearing shortly thereafter for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit.

At the trial on June 20, 1967, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Ali guilty.[12] After a Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, the public began turning against the war and support for Ali began to grow. Ali supported himself by speaking at colleges and universities across the country, where opposition to the war was especially strong. On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction for refusing induction by unanimous decision in Clay v. United States.[12] The decision was not based on, nor did it address, the merits of Clay's/Ali's claims per se; rather, the Government's failure to specify which claims were rejected and which were sustained, constituted the grounds upon which the Court reversed the conviction.[29]



“ I ain't got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me a ****** ”

“ No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end. ”

“ Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali


you can look at this in 2 different ways. you can say he let his country down. he refused to suport his country and the war in vietnam for his personal beleifs. some patriots will frown apaun this.

or you can say he was a hero because even though it was devistating to his career at the time ali stood up for what he beleived in and had great influence in american history at the time of the vietnam war and was a voice for african american people at a time when he felt african americans were still being treated very unfairly in the united states.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 02:02 PM
I agree that the whole GOAT concept is absurd. The players I follow come from the first stream: Magic, Oscar, Russell, Bird, Duncan ...

These are players that get that there's a brilliance to making the game work as a team game. When that type of gifted team player plays it's the most amazing game on earth.

Yep thats my dudes too, thats why i also like Kidd, Battier, Pau, Duncan or even bargnani because they have that mentallity, and probably why i dont have the same respect to Dirk , because beign european he has adopted the "other mentallity".

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 02:14 PM
it really depends on what you define as a hero.

growing up i loved tupac(a thug, a gangster). my friend loved marylin manson(a punk, an anarchist).. we idolized these guys. my favourite wrestler was razor ramone( a drug addict). we fall in love with characters. not the poople who play the characters. jordan was a character in his own. we loved him for what he did on the court not what he did in a casino or in his personal life.

in our society our heroes are a product of media and marketing. the immortal hulk hogan used to tell you to eat your vitamins and say your prayers. mean while in the back locker room he was doing steir roids. some role model huh?

im just saying we pick our heroes and more often then not they are just regular ppl who make human mistakes.

heroes are just ppl like you and i. and they all have faults such as gambling .. or in ali's case he was very un educated. no ones perfect.. but im guessing you would have to do somthing admirable in the world eyes, something for the greater good, somthing to have helped someone other then yourself in order to be a hero.

i just dont think jordan was ever that guy.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 02:19 PM
Finally a post that's on topic. A lot of the earlier posts in the thread seem to be on about the usual "MJ is the GOAT" stuff. I think you're right that Jordan didn't care much about social responsibility, he was a businessman, albeit a pretty lousy one if you look at his basketball ownership and management.

So the question remains: is he worthy of worship like some of the other sports heroes we've had? Good question. Perhaps that's why most NBA stars only stand for themselves and for the money they can make, lacking any real substance beyond that. It's a crass group of players with a few notable exceptions like Steve Nash.

when i was in high school and i found out about child labourers all around the world forced to work for companies like NIKE i was devistated. I thought how can any one make a 7 year old work in a factory ?

then the question comes up, how can jordan be associated with such companies like nike or mcdonalds ??

so to answer the question . NO jordan is no hero of mine. all he cares about is money. and i cant blame him or fault him for that because many ppl think about the all mighty dollar before anything else. but thats why i dont consider him a hero. a hero is of exception, someone who has the ability to stand up for somthing greater then him or herself. imo jordan is a basketball icon. but no hero.

ink
10-27-2011, 02:27 PM
when i was in high school and i found out about child labourers all around the world forced to work for companies like NIKE i was devistated. I thought how can any one make a 7 year old work in a factory ?

then the question comes up, how can jordan be associated with such companies like nike or mcdonalds ??

so to answer the question . NO jordan is no hero of mine. all he cares about is money. and i cant blame him or fault him for that because many ppl think about the all mighty dollar before anything else. but thats why i dont consider him a hero. a hero is of exception, someone who has the ability to stand up for somthing greater then him or herself. imo jordan is a basketball icon. but no hero.

I don't hate the guy. I just don't idolize him. In many ways his on court influence has been bad for the game, and his off court stuff in not hero worthy. Same could be said for the current crop of "superstars" who show some really dubious qualities on and off the court. That's one of the reasons why I never get involved in these ******** fights over who is better: Kobe or Lebron. NEITHER of those guys is a hero in any way. We need to demand more team play from our stars, then we would have some heroes.

As HC says above, you can admire players who play the game the right way, not just ISO play, ISO play, ISO play, then do the star-of-the-game interview. No substance to a sport like that.

ink
10-27-2011, 02:35 PM
Yep thats my dudes too, thats why i also like Kidd, Battier, Pau, Duncan or even bargnani because they have that mentallity, and probably why i dont have the same respect to Dirk , because beign european he has adopted the "other mentallity".

All of those guys are my favourites. Players that see the whole floor, not just their lane to the hoop and the sidelines microphone where they can talk to their "adoring" fans.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 02:39 PM
I don't hate the guy. I just don't idolize him. In many ways his on court influence has been bad for the game, and his off court stuff in not hero worthy. Same could be said for the current crop of "superstars" who show some really dubious qualities on and off the court. That's one of the reasons why I never get involved in these ******** fights over who is better: Kobe or Lebron. NEITHER of those guys is a hero in any way. We need to demand more team play from our stars, then we would have some heroes.

As HC says above, you can admire players who play the game the right way, not just ISO play, ISO play, ISO play, then do the star-of-the-game interview. No substance to a sport like that.

the iversons & kobe's he created because of his playing style has effected the game today. your right its not secret that players growing up did infact want to be just "like mike".

but maybe thats more of sterns fault or the nba's? wasnt it stern who changed rules to benifit scores on the wing ? wasnt it stern who made the nba a star driven league and going as far as marketing its stars over theyre actual teams.

I think alot of it falls on the nba as well because they created the jordan, lebron super mega stars that they potrayed and marketed as kings and heroes. maybe the players are just lucky enough to be in that position where the nba wants them to be the face, the franchise, etc.. and in that scenerio who wouldnt cash in right ??

JordansBulls
10-27-2011, 02:49 PM
I agree that the whole GOAT concept is absurd. The players I follow come from the first stream: Magic, Oscar, Russell, Bird, Duncan ...

These are players that get that there's a brilliance to making the game work as a team game. When that type of gifted team player plays it's the most amazing game on earth.

Guys like Wilt and Oscar needed to be traded to teams in order to win and a guy like Magic refused to play for a losing franchise and wanted to play with the best player in the league in Kareem.
Russell went to a team that had the 2nd best record in the league prior to him coming and in his first year had the league mvp on his team and the ROY and another 1st team member all nba.
Duncan went to a team with David Robinson who came back from injury (so it's not like he inherited a team that was a true bottom dweller).
Bird is probably the only one that went somewhere where the team turned around, however prior to Bird getting there the C's had won 2 titles in 6 years and he had an allstar each year he was there.

Now going on to Jordan is that the Difference with him is that Jordan turned a losing franchise around and into a dynasty.

NBA Draft 1984 - Michael Jordan #3 Pick (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X24iTchwMew&feature=youtube_gdata_player)


This was his quote when he won



"When I came here we started from scratch," he said. "We started at the bottom and made it to the top. It's been a long, long seven years, a lot of bad teams, a lot of improvement, step by step, inch by inch. I never gave up hope. I always had faith."



Now compare that to Magic

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-05/sports/sp-83_1_lakers


Magic Johnson would have returned to Michigan State rather than play for the Chicago Bulls.

"I'd have stayed in school," he said here Tuesday, standing alone outside Gate 3 1/2 of Chicago Stadium, the house that could have been his. "A coin toss changed the course of my whole life."

Johnson signed with the Lakers after his sophomore year of college and proceeded to win five championships. The Bulls picked second, took UCLA's David Greenwood and have won no championships.

"I wouldn't have played here," Johnson said on the eve of Game 2 of the NBA finals between his team and the team that could have been his. "The only reason I came out was to play with Kareem and the Lakers.

That takes the idea of competition out. This is why I appreciate Jordan because he took the challenge and relished taking a team from the bottom to the top.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 02:49 PM
imagine how much more exposure and marketing lerbon has recieved since before he was even in the league in comparison to a guy like duncan who is known to be the best player of all time at his position and a multiple time champion. somthings wrong with that picture. but whos to blame ? i certainly dont blame lebron. its the the media the owners, the comissioner who are deciding to lable lebron "king" before he was even drafted.

ink
10-27-2011, 02:50 PM
the iversons & kobe's he created because of his playing style has effected the game today. your right its not secret that players growing up did infact want to be just "like mike".

but maybe thats more of sterns fault or the nba's? wasnt it stern who changed rules to benifit scores on the wing ? wasnt it stern who made the nba a star driven league and going as far as marketing its stars over theyre actual teams.

I think alot of it falls on the nba as well because they created the jordan, lebron super mega stars that they potrayed and marketed as kings and heroes. maybe the players are just lucky enough to be in that position where the nba wants them to be the face, the franchise, etc.. and in that scenerio who wouldnt cash in right ??

I agree, both sides are to blame for the fugly league and sport the NBA has become. The question now is whether they have the will to fix it.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 02:59 PM
lol Jb and the b.s magic thing even if OFFTOPIC as hell in the thread.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 03:00 PM
Guys like Wilt and Oscar needed to be traded to teams in order to win and a guy like Magic refused to play for a losing franchise and wanted to play with the best player in the league in Kareem.
Russell went to a team that had the 2nd best record in the league prior to him coming and in his first year had the league mvp on his team and the ROY and another 1st team member all nba.
Duncan went to a team with David Robinson who came back from injury (so it's not like he inherited a team that was a true bottom dweller).
Bird is probably the only one that went somewhere where the team turned around, however prior to Bird getting there the C's had won 2 titles in 6 years and he had an allstar each year he was there.

Now going on to Jordan is that the Difference with him is that Jordan turned a losing franchise around and into a dynasty.

NBA Draft 1984 - Michael Jordan #3 Pick (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X24iTchwMew&feature=youtube_gdata_player)


This was his quote when he won




Now compare that to Magic

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-05/sports/sp-83_1_lakers



That takes the idea of competition out. This is why I appreciate Jordan because he took the challenge and relished taking a team from the bottom to the top.

ya but jb.. notice how in jordans quote he say "I" never gave up, "I" never lost faith. thats your championship speach. wheres the "we" never gave up "we never lost faith"

what ink is saying is that because jordan was soo good at iso's and taking over games it created generations after him trying to be like that when in all fairness the game of basketball is a team game.

me personally i love jordan for what he has done on the court. the guy was simply amazing to watch. but no one could be like mike. who has mikes fg% while takeing 30 shots a game ? no one yet you got like 30 players in the league still trying to take over games and be "the guy" jordan was that good but alot of these guys arent and its effecting the game.

JordansBulls
10-27-2011, 03:02 PM
lol Jb and the b.s magic thing even if OFFTOPIC as hell in the thread.

How is it BS when Magic said it and it is in quotes?

JordansBulls
10-27-2011, 03:03 PM
ya but jb.. notice how in jordans quote he say "I" never gave up, "I" never lost faith. thats your championship speach. wheres the "we" never gave up "we never lost faith"

what ink is saying is that because jordan was soo good at iso's and taking over games it created generations after him trying to be like that when in all fairness the game of basketball is a team game.

me personally i love jordan for what he has done on the court. the guy was simply amazing to watch. but no one could be like mike. who has mikes fg% while takeing 30 shots a game ? no one yet you got like 30 players in the league still trying to take over games and be "the guy" jordan was that good but alot of these guys arent and its effecting the game.

We is more of an in game situation. I is more that I have been here from the get go when we were bad and I stayed the course.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 03:10 PM
We is more of an in game situation. I is more that I have been here from the get go when we were bad and I stayed the course.

tell, me did he Magically make you win teh ring ( or make playoffs....:rolleyes:) in 1985?

no he got the HELP later and won.


Duncan had RObinson? yep and if duncan was there and robinson came later the result woudl ahve been the same.

Jordan was given Pippen, and Phil jackson, And rodman, and harper, And cartwright, and Horace, and etc etc etc.

Probably the most stacked teams EVER.

big deal.

The Final Boss
10-27-2011, 03:14 PM
They're both clowns. Ali's *****, ***** *** was scared to get drafted so he woke up religious one morning. lmao Mark *** ***** in every sense of the word.

JordansBulls
10-27-2011, 03:25 PM
tell, me did he Magically make you win teh ring ( or make playoffs....:rolleyes:) in 1985?

no he got the HELP later and won.


Duncan had RObinson? yep and if duncan was there and robinson came later the result woudl ahve been the same.

Jordan was given Pippen, and Phil jackson, And rodman, and harper, And cartwright, and Horace, and etc etc etc.

Probably the most stacked teams EVER.

big deal.

Jordan wasn't given anything. Magic was given a prime Kareem who won league mvp. Then he was given the #1 pick two years later in Worthy (won finals mvp) and then he got another guy who won MVP in Bob Mcadoo. Jordan didn't get any players that was as proven as he was in any season. Pippen came to us as a rookie who came off the bench and a 8 and 4 player. Phil Jackson had done nothing coaching wise in the league. Bulls getting Phil Jackson was like the Mavs getting Avery Johnson as coach an unknown commodity that had a star player.
Magic had guys who won league and finals mvp and guys who won titles before he came.


Here are the teammates who were Hall of Famers and Allstars that each played with:

Hall of famers played with

Magic: 3
Jordan: 2

All-star's played with

Magic: 5
Jordan: 1

The Final Boss
10-27-2011, 03:38 PM
Please stay retired...

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 03:54 PM
We is more of an in game situation. I is more that I have been here from the get go when we were bad and I stayed the course.

I hear you but champions ships are won by teams. just a small observation thats all. im not attacking the man. he was a great player .. but the article i think was focusing more on jordan as a person rather then the player.

i love the player.

as a person i think he has made some questionable moves. but thats opinionated.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 03:57 PM
Jordan wasn't given anything. Magic was given a prime Kareem who won league mvp. Then he was given the #1 pick two years later in Worthy (won finals mvp) and then he got another guy who won MVP in Bob Mcadoo. Jordan didn't get any players that was as proven as he was in any season. Pippen came to us as a rookie who came off the bench and a 8 and 4 player. Phil Jackson had done nothing coaching wise in the league. Bulls getting Phil Jackson was like the Mavs getting Avery Johnson as coach an unknown commodity that had a star player.
Magic had guys who won league and finals mvp and guys who won titles before he came.


Here are the teammates who were Hall of Famers and Allstars that each played with:

Hall of famers played with

Magic: 3
Jordan: 2

All-star's played with

Magic: 5
Jordan: 1

? i might have dreamed pippens or rodmans allstar games?

i also may have missed how a YOUNGER (than kareem) George gervin a HOF played with jordan too.

oh yeah, id swear pippen has already made the hof and rodman just reached it this year.

Tony_Starks
10-27-2011, 04:33 PM
Ali represented for black people. Jordan represented for Jordan. Bottom line.

ink
10-27-2011, 04:34 PM
imagine how much more exposure and marketing lerbon has recieved since before he was even in the league in comparison to a guy like duncan who is known to be the best player of all time at his position and a multiple time champion. somthings wrong with that picture. but whos to blame ? i certainly dont blame lebron. its the the media the owners, the comissioner who are deciding to lable lebron "king" before he was even drafted.

Great points. And still on topic! :clap:

Marketing above substance.

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 04:36 PM
Great points. And still on topic! :clap:

Marketing above substance.

Its been that way since Stern stepped in.

The league as we knwo it was desgined by Stern and SOnny Vacaro

Hellcrooner
10-27-2011, 04:36 PM
Btw maybe theres one athlete that shoudl be considered heroic.
Jackie RObinson.

LOOTERX9
10-27-2011, 04:46 PM
there is certainly a cult of personality for jordan but thats happening for players these days, its almost as a counter to the new stars today. kobe got 5 titles. nope he is a horrible human being and cant be in the conversation. etc


Umm, there is that Little issue called "RAPE" Remember those accusations aimed at kobe, thus making him a horrible human being:confused:

ink
10-27-2011, 04:50 PM
Its been that way since Stern stepped in.

The league as we knwo it was desgined by Stern and SOnny Vacaro

The irony is that with every new CBA negotiation the monster(s) they created, the mega mega egos of Lebron, Kobe, Melo, Amare, et al, get harder and harder and harder to deal with.

They created the monster by wanting all the stars to "be like Mike". Unfortunately that league sucks and everyone has a share in the blame.

Worst of all I know we're not going to get the game back, just a heavily marketed, over-hyped "game" that the NBA/Nike/superstar athlete are going to sell us.

It won't be basketball, it will be ISO ball with a supporting group of players there ready to absorb the fan put downs about how they weren't good enough, or they weren't HOFers, so their hero's chance of winning was ruined. I'm looking right at some of the main posters who give excuses to their favourite players because they didn't have "help" so couldn't win.

Why buy into the ego? It all comes down to that single question. Why buy into the ego?

smiddy012
10-27-2011, 05:08 PM
First of all, Muhammad Ali was not a saint of his day, he refused to join the "white man's" war - big whoop - plenty of senators and congressmen have draft-dodged too. Sure Muhammad had political will and energy but he sure as heck didn't know how to focus it.

Compare Ali to Joe Louis and Ali's just another joe shmo if we're talking sports ethics here. Now Joe Louis is an American hero (even though technically the gov. ****ed him over).

And anyone who doesn't know MJ is the GOAT is one of two things:
1 - Willfully ignorant
2 - A hater

ink
10-27-2011, 05:17 PM
And anyone who doesn't know MJ is the GOAT is one of two things:
1 - Willfully ignorant
2 - A hater

Right on cue, defence of the hero. No one said he wasn't the so-called "GOAT". That's not even the point of the article in any way. And even in the off-topic conversation in this thread there is no credible dispute that he wasn't the ahem "GOAT".

To me the article pinpoints one of the biggest problems with the NBA: the lack of substance, the dominance of marketing over substance. Like S&W says above, a player like Lebron started getting marketed as the King at 16. David Stern started marketing "the next Jordan" even when there WAS NO Jordan to hype to that level.

Far from saying Jordan isn't the "GOAT", we can actually look at all the over-marketed pretenders since to see that the league's stars have been spiralling DOWNWARD in credibility ever since Jordan. I mean, come on, Carter, Iverson, TMac?? And yet we ignore Duncan??? Wow, I call that marketing over substance, which is exactly what you get when the sport's biggest icon is about nothing more than the money.

Tony_Starks
10-27-2011, 05:27 PM
First of all, Muhammad Ali was not a saint of his day, he refused to join the "white man's" war - big whoop - plenty of senators and congressmen have draft-dodged too. Sure Muhammad had political will and energy but he sure as heck didn't know how to focus it.

Compare Ali to Joe Louis and Ali's just another joe shmo if we're talking sports ethics here. Now Joe Louis is an American hero (even though technically the gov. ****ed him over).

And anyone who doesn't know MJ is the GOAT is one of two things:
1 - Willfully ignorant
2 - A hater


Why in the world would a black person at that time go risk their life for a country that was treating them as second class citizens or even worse?

That was a bold step for a young successful black man back then and it made a big political statement. The very fact that he was one of the first superstar blacks to openly be muslim was also a big huge deal in itself.
At least he wasn't afraid to express his convictions.

I can't be mad at Jordan at all, he is a business but at the end of the day he just played it sade.

MTar786
10-27-2011, 05:35 PM
its not even fair to compare jordan to Ali. Ali was on an entire different level.

Bruno
10-27-2011, 05:42 PM
Enjoyed that read.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 06:06 PM
Great points. And still on topic! :clap:

Marketing above substance.

LOL thank you sir.

i think they are pretty blatant about it now a days, specially with stern walking around saying this is a business first. that should say it all right there.

Kevj77
10-27-2011, 06:08 PM
I don't blame Jordan it might not be in his personality to be socially/politically active. Magic Johnson was never socially active until his HIV diagnosis then he became a spokesman and informed people about HIV, which at the time a lot of people really weren't all that well informed about.

Manute Bol was very charitable and an activist in his home country he never received much recognition for it until his death. If someone like Jordan did what Bol did it could make a difference. He doesn't have any obligation to do so.

Jordan isn't a hero just an exceptional basketball player the article nailed it.

apocalypse15
10-27-2011, 06:27 PM
Yes it would be nice if Jordan played more of a role in society/politics but it is really not his job. Just because he has the fame and power does not mean it is necessary for him to be a politician. He has achieved a level that no athlete ever will again(IMO). Jordan is selfish, so what? Jordan wanted the ball every time, so what? Jordan thrived at being the best at what he did and that should not be frowned upon. If people are so worried about others making and impact in this world why not take Jordan's work ethic for basketball and use it with what you are the best at? If you happen to be a trash man, be the best trash man that company has ever seen, if you are a cashier, be that cashier everybody loves cashing out with. Etc. Etc. Etc. If you are complaining about his shoe prices.... I think the bigger "overall" issue is gas prices and the overall cost of living... Sneaker prices are high on most sneakers. Don't bash Jordan for sneakers prices... Don't bash Jordan for the companies who make his sneakers being made by people making $2-$5 an hour, bash your country for sending all of our jobs across seas for the same ******* reason. Jordan did his job as a basketball player, and that's just what it is. Change the title, Jordan is a legend in his sport. Brand name my ***.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 06:48 PM
Yes it would be nice if Jordan played more of a role in society/politics but it is really not his job. Just because he has the fame and power does not mean it is necessary for him to be a politician. He has achieved a level that no athlete ever will again(IMO). Jordan is selfish, so what? Jordan wanted the ball every time, so what? Jordan thrived at being the best at what he did and that should not be frowned upon. If people are so worried about others making and impact in this world why not take Jordan's work ethic for basketball and use it with what you are the best at? If you happen to be a trash man, be the best trash man that company has ever seen, if you are a cashier, be that cashier everybody loves cashing out with. Etc. Etc. Etc. If you are complaining about his shoe prices.... I think the bigger "overall" issue is gas prices and the overall cost of living... Sneaker prices are high on most sneakers. Don't bash Jordan for sneakers prices... Don't bash Jordan for the companies who make his sneakers being made by people making $2-$5 an hour, bash your country for sending all of our jobs across seas for the same ******* reason. Jordan did his job as a basketball player, and that's just what it is. Change the title, Jordan is a legend in his sport. Brand name my ***.


i think when you are that big and that important to the masses you should atleast consider your actions or at least be aware of the decisions you make and how they effect the world.

due to nike and your airness. children work for 1 dollar a day for companies such as nike who set up factories in 3rd world countries so they dont have to pay you 20$ an hour to do the same job.

do you really think jordan is not informed of this ? he simply decided to make the money and not give a ****. that is an example of social responsibility.

while your right, and i agree with you jordan is a legend in his sport but he is no hero ... unless you consider someone who is only interested in personal gain a hero in which case i guess everyone is one.

apocalypse15
10-27-2011, 07:12 PM
i think when you are that big and that important to the masses you should atleast consider your actions or at least be aware of the decisions you make and how they effect the world.

due to nike and your airness. children work for 1 dollar a day for companies such as nike who set up factories in 3rd world countries so they dont have to pay you 20$ an hour to do the same job.

do you really think jordan is not informed of this ? he simply decided to make the money and not give a ****. that is an example of social responsibility.

while your right, and i agree with you jordan is a legend in his sport but he is no hero ... unless you consider someone who is only interested in personal gain a hero in which case i guess everyone is one.

I agree, he is no hero. But don't bash one man for his wrong doing when a whole country is following suit.

smith&wesson
10-27-2011, 07:34 PM
I agree, he is no hero. But don't bash one man for his wrong doing when a whole country is following suit.

not bashing bro just stating the facts where this topic is concerned. other wise i love jordan the ball player

Anilyzer
10-27-2011, 11:20 PM
Fall 1999
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University




In celebrating Jordan as a hero, are we merely worshipping capitalism?

By Michael Crowley

Michael Jordan’s retirement from the NBA in January was not just a sports story but an international news event. His farewell press conference was
carried live on CNN, his face graced the front page of The New York Times, and when a White House event overlapped with Jordan’s announcement, even Bill Clinton noted that “most of the cameras are somewhere else.”

Obviously, the hysteria had a lot to do with Jordan’s unrivaled mastery of the game. But the Jordan phenomenon is much bigger than his scoring titles and six championship rings. Jordan has transcended his on-court achievements to become something more: a ubiquitous corporate pitchman who hawks for giant companies like Coke, McDonald’s and Nike, an entertainer whose role in the movie “Space Jam” helped it gross $450 million—in sum, he is the world’s biggest celebrity.

But he is even more than a celebrity. He is something much rarer: a hero. Jordan is almost universally adored, not just as a great player but as a man of honorable character. In a recent survey of Chinese students Jordan tied with Zhou Enlai as “the world’s greatest man.” The old Gatorade slogan “Be Like Mike” may be out of circulation, but the sentiment remains: Jordan is the ultimate role model.

Yet it might be worth pausing, in the midst of all this adulation, to ask just what kind of hero we have chosen. Some sports legends—Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe—were respected as much for their personalities and ideals as for their athletic prowess. And while he can match and perhaps exceed the athletic accomplishments of men such as these, Jordan doesn’t even compete when it comes to having a lasting, noncommercial impact on society.


The truth is that Jordan’s is not an especially interesting personality. He tends to be bland, never spontaneous, sometimes petulant, and often arrogant. He is ruthlessly competitive, although not in the same comically endearing way as Ali. And Jordan has so far been utterly disinterested in discovering the potential that a man of his fame, wealth and stature possesses to make the world even a slightly better place.

Ultimately, what Jordan represents aren’t so much values as the capitalist principles of relentless competition and the bounty of total victory. He is a monument to the self. And with the stock market soaring and political participation plummeting, perhaps he is the icon of our time.

With virtually no dissent, the American media—and not just sportswriters—have unquestioningly accepted the Jordan mythology. Dozens of news commentators have proclaimed Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time, hands down, as if Wilt Chamberlain somehow doesn’t count because he played before the advent of ESPN. But the hagiography extends beyond the question and coverage of Jordan’s athletic abilities. It often seems that Jordan’s consistent ability to win has worked to inflate our estimation of his character.

Because Jordan was nearly perfect on the court, there seemed to be a desire to find perfection in his character as well. “What made Jordan special was his demanding code of personal excellence,” The New York Times declared. Even a writer as wise as David Halberstam, for instance, can’t resist calling Jordan the “most charismatic” player the game has seen—apparently ignoring the affable likes of Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Walt Frazier and others, and embellishing Jordan’s bland persona.

When Jordan flashed a less amicable side—when he reportedly called New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy a “****ing hockey puck,” for instance—the press tended to chuckle and dismiss it. Critical assessments of Jordan seemed to be off-limits. And why was it that only Time magazine and one Milwaukee newspaper ran a story about a woman who filed a paternity suit against Jordan last year?

Admittedly, Jordan has taken his lumps in the media, most notably when stories emerged several years ago about his gambling habits. But it’s plainly evident that members of the media never really questioned whether Jordan is everything an American hero should be.

Looking Beneath Jordan’s Commercial Persona

Although he was deservedly praised as a decent guy with a common touch with lesser mortals, Jordan’s personality has always been rather bland. Far less colorful than several of his contemporaries, Jordan inevitably spoke in throwaway clichés and hollow jock jargon. At his brief retirement press conference, Jordan was his typically banal self, using variations of the word “challenge” 20 times. He may have illuminated our understanding of the sport with deeds, but never with words.

And although the NBA and his corporate patrons, including the Disney corporation, created a gentle, smiling and gracious persona for Jordan, this wasn’t always the case. Jordan was, undoubtedly, polite to the media and his fans, graceful and composed in public. But he had a darker side, one explored in Sam Smith’s 1992 book “The Jordan Rules” (Pocket Books). Smith depicted Jordan as selfish, arrogant, obsessed with statistics, and disparaging to his teammates, whom he once referred to as “my supporting cast.” Over the years he never hesitated to yell at teammates who failed to pass him the ball. As recently as a 1998 NBA Finals game, Jordan shouted at Bulls forward Scottie Pippen for not passing him the ball—after Pippen had drained a game-tying three-pointer.

His Airness is also a famously thin-skinned fellow. Criticism is often cause for massive retaliation, as Sports Illustrated learned after it published a 1993 article mocking his ill-fated stint as a baseball player. Jordan stopped talking to reporters from the magazine for years; some editors even believe that Jordan intentionally leaked word of his retirement just after that week’s edition of SI had gone to press.

Jordan’s sharp edges seem to grow from his intense competitive drive, which has been the object of much awed admiration. But it was often excessive by any standards. Never famous for sportsmanship, Jordan was one of the nastiest trash-talkers of his day, and he loved to humiliate his rivals. As his former coach Doug Collins once said, “He wants to cut your heart out and
then show it to you.” Nor was he gracious in losing. He was known to petulantly sweep the pieces off a board game when things weren’t going his way. Halberstam writes that in college Jordan frigidly refused to speak to an assistant coach who had beaten him repeatedly in pool and even cheated at golf. “If you challenge him,” Toronto Raptors coach and former player Darrell Walker told The Toronto Star last year, “he can be a very vindictive person.”

This apparent pathology may explain the taste for high-stakes gambling that is the one real blotch on Jordan’s sterling reputation. Jordan admitted in 1992 to paying $165,000 in poker and golf debts to a pair of unsavory characters, one of whom was later murdered. And a former golfing partner wrote a book claiming that Michael had lost $1.25 million on the links in 10 days. (A penitent Jordan admitted betting with the man but said the figures had been exaggerated.) Rumors still linger that Jordan’s debts were a factor in his startling first “retirement” in 1993—some suggest that the league insisted he lay low for a while.

Jordan’s obsession with victory—however meaningless, be it in golf or cards—is hailed as an inspiring example of his personal excellence. Yet even his father wondered about this side of Jordan. “My son doesn’t have a gambling problem,” James Jordan once said. “He has a competition problem.”

Muhammed Ali was (in his time) a credulous fool who allowed himself to be brainwashed by a racist, anti-semitic, fanatical religious cult group, which by the way is, at its core, extremely conservative and severely restricts women's rights.

For more on this, check out the amazing HBO documentary "Thrilla in Manila", which details the way in which a naive 1970's media, in trying to be idealistic and leftist, grossly misrepresented Frazier, a very hard-working and good guy who had worked his way up from unbelievable poverty, as the tool of the corporate establishment, and hoisted up Ali, who had dissented from the Vietnam war on purely religious grounds (the Nation of Islam didn't recognize the US government as legitimate, etc), as some kind of counter-culture hero.

There is AMAZING footage in that documentary of Ali actually speaking at a Klu Klux Klan rally in the deep south--and being cheered!! As it turns out, both the KKK and the Nation of Islam were all-for extreme racial segregation.

I doubt that very many people would connect the dots here to understand what this actually means, but, you might want to at least consider the actual history before bandying about Ali's name like he was some kind of angel of freedom and racial equality. (apologies to Harvard and the Neiman Foundation).

Anilyzer
10-27-2011, 11:24 PM
anyways, Jordan was clearly a punter, but his head looked great shaved and I guess he had a 14" **** or whatever, and he could slam from the free throw line, people loved him, and he could sell lots of gatorade and underwear, so, more power to him. What's not to like?