I am not what you’d call a sports fan and in my entire life have never been to an NBA basketball game – or an ABA game, for that matter, either, because it sounds too much like the American Bar Association and because even I know it’s baseball that has a national league and an American league, not basketball. (Does it?) Indeed, I have never even watched a basketball game on TV, both because I am not a fan (obviously) and because I know what will happen in any event. They will all run to the left side of the screen, and Team A will make a basket; then they will all run to the right side, and Team B will make a basket. Even if one team makes more than its share of baskets for a while, it will even out at the end – like coin tosses – and the final score will be something like 87-86.
So it was entirely by accident that, vaguely aware of the “Michael frenzy,” which I knew had something to do with bulls and bears and Chicago and Utah somehow, I happened upon the last fifteen minutes of Michael Jordan’s professional basketball career.
At least I hope it was the last 15 minutes, because, for one thing, how could you ever top that? In the 30 or so minutes it took for those 15 minutes to play out, I got entirely swept up in the frenzy and roared at the beauty of that final grace note. (Non-fans: they were down by one with no time left on the clock as Michael Jordan’s shot – a shot lofted by a tired, gracious 36-year-old – swished through the hoop and won his team the Oscar.)
The perfect way to end a career.
But the other reason I hope he follows the natural rhythm of the thing and retires is all the good he could do. I’m sure he’s doing a lot already, but with more time, he could take it to a whole new level. Not knowing Michael personally, I am relying on one of you to get this idea to him … and the idea is this: He should start a foundation called Michael’s Team and travel the country inspiring kids to “be cool – learn to read – join Michael’s team.”
“Be cool – quit your gang – join Michael’s team.”
“Be cool – crack’s whack – join Michael’s team.”
“Be cool – go to college – join Michael’s team.”
“Be cool – volunteer – join Michael’s team.”
Not many could pull it off, but judging from my brief TV acquaintance with him, Michael could. Swish.