From 1984 to 2014, Michael Jordan has created hopes for many hoping to be just like him, just as a kid may want to be like his father… “Like Mike…I wanna be like Mike.” Jordan was the first sports figure to merge the art of his sport–basketball–with commerce as successfully as he has.
MJ is a pioneer. Like most pioneers, he has created a lineage of those hoping to follow his lead to meet the same success as his. And wearing his shoes are the closest many will get. It’s why young black kids camp-out hoping to be as cool or cooler than the rest by purchasing a pair of MJ’s shoes. Albeit, the culture has taken a life of its own, given the amount of trade value the shoes have created for some. And for the rest? For the rest, it is something to literally die for. People buy shoes knowing that they could be murdered for them, given the history we know of. Rest in Heavenly Peace to the many souls lost.
I looked up to MJ, trying to model aspects of my game after his game. I wasn’t the best copycat, but I love the game and loved watching the best player play. Now, as a grown man, I wish he would mature too, beyond the analysis of margins and dollar amount. I now see that he was a magnificent player that created an unattainable standard to meet. I see that only the best others can get is a comparison to him see Kobe and LeBron. Moreover, Jordan was a young man who played ball and did so very well. But there is great responsibility that comes with greatness. You owe a duty to those who put so much into your fandom, to not let them perish for a material thing.
But now, Jordan is as ruthless or shrewd as a business man as he was a player. He is a cold killer. He played for the Wizards to get closer to ownership. He rode along with Bob Johnson just to takeover the NBA’s Bobcats.
Jordan may not want to get into politics, or the business aspects of his business, but he clearly does not give two fucks about the continuous loss of life and handicap that handicaps the finances and lives of people who look very much like him, some of whom who only have hopes to reach a sliver of the success he has. If I can see it, so can he.
How can he sleep? Does he just never watch the news or surf the Internet? He has to know. How can you keep selling a product that kills? People are dying over shoes made with his likeness emblazoned upon the side….in sweatshops no less. It’s a gift or a curse to have so much power. And to not be bothered by it!?
Damn, MJ! I hope there’s heaven for a gangster.