Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Just Do Something
So, I've never liked Jordan.
He blew smoke in my face when I met him around 1992. And 6 year old Josh wasn't that happy with it. And, as you might be able to guess, I still haven't let it go.
But it's not like he's given me reasons to like him after our encounter.
While wanting to be "like Mike" certainly means something on the court, what does it mean when he goes out of bounds into real life? Gambling, golf, baseball, promoting shoes? Will Jordan ever speak out about something meaningful?
I could have missed something, but it doesn't seem likely.
Here's a great article from ESPN about his inactivity with anything that doesn't deal with shoes.
His Airness has always held a precarious place in my heart. My admiration for his passionate play is constantly at battle with my frustration for his apparent lack of passion for anything that doesn't benefit him.
When I think of the large cultural space he occupies -- even in retirement -- and the fact "Republicans buy sneakers too" remains his most memorable contribution to the political landscape, I am truly baffled that he can rest peacefully at night. I don't care if he's a Republican, Democrat or Libertarian. But while his iconic Nike labelmate, Lance Armstrong, has become synonymous with yellow wristbands and the cancer fight, MJ, who is far more influential, continues to steadfastly sidestep using his image for social change, even as it relates to issues of the global black community.
Silence about AIDS in Africa.
Silence during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
Silence in the fight against, well, just about anything.
Except slumping shoe sales.
Now some of you are thinking, "Haven't I read this criticism of Jordan before?" to which I say, "Yes, you probably have." Others are wondering, "Why does he have to do anything?" Let me answer that one too: He doesn't.
Nevertheless I bring this challenge up today because, one, the NBA is welcoming a new collection of young men with the potential to do great things, and two, I feel the black community needs a powerful voice such as Michael Jordan's now more than ever.