(Photo from Google Images)
It’s Cinco de Mayo on Taco Tuesday, but we can’t go outside because of Corona and now Murder Hornets. Life is really weird right now. I miss sports.
Thankfully, we have The Last Dance on Sunday nights. Episodes 5 & 6 were flat out captivating and deeply rooted in the raw truth of success on and off the court.
We knew Kobe Bryant was a part of the Michael Jordan story line and episode 5 gave Kobe fans that last interview that they needed to heal. MJ & Kobe’s big/little brother relationship was special and not well known. Kobe said “What you get from me is from him. I don’t get five Championships here without him. He guided me so much. He gave me so much great advice”. They didn’t ask MJ to comment on how he felt about Kobe. MJ’s speech at Kobe’s memorial service said everything MJ needed to say about his little brother.
There are so, SO many topics covered in the two hours, I don’t even know where to start. Each of the episodes could be their own documentary. The footage of MJ & Pippen drinking Miller Lite after games was the best marketing Miller Lite could ever dream of. Jerry Seinfeld leaving the locker room and pointing to a play on the board and saying “this is not going to work, by the way. I would get that out of there” was so 90’s it hurts. The 92’ Dream Team scrimmage is a game that could sell on Pay Per View right now and millions of viewers would pay to watch. ‘Caption On’ mode would be a must. If we want to stimulate the economy right now, release the soundtrack. 90’s hip-hop will never go out of style.
I need a whole documentary on MJ’s former gambling friend, Slim Boulder and the Security guard, John Michael Wozniak. Wozniak could give Joe Exotic a run for most popular Halloween costumes with his curly mullet. Wozniak beat MJ in a quarter toss game and gives MJ the classic MJ shoulder shrug. (I still don’t understand the rules of the game.) I laughed so hard when MJ was trying to pull Pippen away from the media to get Pippen on the team bus so they could make a tee time. MJ boards the bus and starts honking the horn as Pippen is surrounded by media in front of the team bus.
MJ laced his own shoes! There were multiple clips of MJ lacing his own game shoes. I don’t know why this is so shocking and so great to me, but I like MJ more after seeing him lace his own shoes. HE LACED HIS OWN SHOES! Speaking of shoes:
There may never be another deal like MJ’s Nike shoe deal. MJ was an Adidas guy, he wanted to sign with Adidas. Adidas wasn’t ready “we’d love to have Jordan, we just can’t make a shoe work”. MJ’s parents made him go to the Nike meeting. A Nike designer came up with the “Air Jordan” partnership and Nike offered $500,000-per-year deal for five years in 1984. Nike’s goal was to do $3 million by year four. Nike did $126 million in year ONE! Forbes reported that Nike has since paid MJ over $1.3 billion. There isn’t another athlete who can come close to MJ in sales. Decades out of his playing career and MJ’s shoe sales are still greater than the signature lines of every other current NBA player, COMBINED!
MJ is revered. He has been an iconic world-wide brand for decades that stems from the simplicity of an honest truth; sticking to what he knows. MJ was asked to publicly indorse Harvey Grantt, a Democrat running for the North Carolina Senate. MJ’s response about giving his political opinion was “Republicans buy sneakers too”. MJ asked about his comment then and he responded “I don’t think that statement needs to be corrected. I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player. I wasn’t a politician when I was playing my sport. I was focused on my craft. Was that selfish? Probably. But that was my energy. That’s where my energy was.” MIC DROP!
Clay Travis wrote a fantastic book with the MJ quote as the title; Republicans Buy Sneakers Too. It’s not a political book, it’s a book about what happens when sports are no longer just about sports. It wasn’t until late in the book when the title was explained. I highly recommend it!
The 1993 Suns vs. Bulls Championship series recap was hard for me to watch. I have always been team Charles Barkley. Re-watching him lose his shot at being an NBA Champion is still “turrible”. The city of Chicago was ready to celebrate a three-peat by boarding up store windows going into game five. After the Suns beat the Bulls Barkley told the media “take that shit off the windows”. For the documentary, Barkley was asked about losing to MJ and he said “there’s no shame in losing to MJ. Sports are like a gunfight to me, and we lost to the best gun”.
Episode 6 ended with the media going hard on MJ. He simply wanted them to leave him alone. Instead, they irritated him. MJ said “I don’t have a gambling problem, I have a competition problem” when he had to defend his enjoyment of playing cards with money he had to lose. MJ said “I’m ready for getting out of this life. You know when you get to that point? I’m there. With no reservations at all, I’m there.”
Episodes 7 & 8 air on ESPN this Sunday at 9:00.