It’s nearly March and I still don’t care about basketball. I’m even wearing my basketball shirt and basketball Sanuks (update: it’s 72 degrees here today, after two weeks of sub-zero blizzardy crap, now it’s freaking brilliant outside), but I’m still not feeling the Hoop Dreams yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Oklahoma City Thunder. But college basketball is usually where my heart is at this time of year. I feel nothing for any team. The Big 12 is a heaping pile o’ crap, and TU’s basketball team isn’t going to be good again ever, it would seem. ORU ain’t beating Kansas this year, that much is true. It breaks my heart. I want them all to at least compete.
Which brings me to my point: Michael Jordan needs to replicate himself and grow up again, and play for a Big 12 school, then the Thunder. Or even the Mavericks.
Know this about me — you can prove to me that Jordan was Jeffrey Dahmer’s confidante, and I would just say, “Oh, you’re wrong.” You could tell me he stole his mother’s pension to fund his college career. You could tell me Jordan was on steroids, which would be ridiculous because hoops guys don’t do the roids. I would just tell you that you are crazy.
Michael Jordan is a saint. He should be in the national archives… alive. They should have a room for him in the Smithsonian. His genetic makeup should be studied. He should be on the Heisman Committee and the Electoral College.
I got into professional basketball when the Lakers and Pistons were tops, the late 1980s. My stepdad, who taught me tons about sports, loved Joe Dumars and Isaiah Thomas, and instilled in me (and his son, my brother) a deep, never-ending hatred of the Lakers. He loved the work ethic of the Pistons, and hated the Hollywood flash of the Lakers. It still resonates in me today, and Nick, my bro.
Together, Nick and I and my stepdad watched the Bulls become The Team in the 1990s. We watched an NBA game every night, usually the Bulls, but we’d take whatever. I knew the stars and bench players for every team, how they handled the ball, their backstories — I also developed a hatred of the Knicks, which has since ebbed because of their continued suckiness. I even hated John Starks, a Tulsa boy. Because he was a Knick, as well as an extreme loudmouth.
I believed in Michael. I wanted to be like Mike. I worshiped the guy. Still do. I had a life-size cutout of him that I unfortunately had to get rid of because it fell apart. I have posters, cards, framed magazine covers. He’s it to me. He’s the pinnacle of the athlete table. Unbreakable, untoppable, unbelievable. He shaped the entire next generation of hoops stars, and his legacy still hasn’t even been touched. You can call Kobe the “Next Michael,” but when have you ever heard anyone, especially a kid, say they wanted to be “Like Kobe”?
You’ll never be able to convince me, my brother or my stepdad that Jordan isn’t the best thing to ever happen to basketball, and sports in general. And if another person came along with just a fraction of his charisma, I’d be happy about basketball again.
Kevin Durant is about the closest I’ve seen in a while… but that’s a blog for another time.
The REAL No. 23 forever.