Today the greatest basketball player EVER turns 52, and I officially feel old.
Like most kids that grew up in the 80s and 90s, His Airness was my idol. EVERY kid wanted to be him, every kid pretended they WERE HIM when they got on the blacktop at their school’s recess or in the driveway.
I remember sticking out my tongue as I drove the lane on my driveway hoop, catching god-knows-what in my mouth as I attempted a ridiculous, spinning, dipsy-do, reverse layup between my best buddies’ outstretched arms all while yelling out “Jordan” when I took the shot. Most of the time I missed, but that wasn’t the point.
Jordan created COOL when he got in the league, he WAS the closest physical representation of Miles Davis’ BIRTH OF COOL album; calm, cool, melodic and aggressive at the same time and undeniably brilliant.
This dude wore GOLD CHAINS in the dunk contest his rookie year, JUST CAUSE HE COULD.
MJ walked cool, talked cool, jumped cool, and the way he effortlessly flew through the air like an F-16 was truly a vision of beauty.
Jordan was so good and so popular that kids in driveways in my neighborhood made a rule that “no one can be MJ” when we played basketball. I’m not talking about in the form of video games, I’m talking about in REAL LIFE when we played pick-up in the driveway, NO ONE was allowed to pretend to be MJ, out of fear that somehow just by saying his name like the “Candyman”, your game would be elevated instantly and no one would be able to guard you.
There will never be another like him, he transcended sports to a level that will NEVER be seen again.
Happy birthday to my favorite player of all time, Michael “Air” Jordan, forever Chicago Bulls #23 will be hanging in the rafters in my head and my heart.
MJ Transcending Sports Culture:
MJ’s Top Dunks of All-Time:
MJ’s Top Ten Plays/Performances of All-Time:
Here’s a quick picture gallery of MJ throughout the years just to get you through the day: