10 years ago today

Posted in Hoops, Tribute by minoroots on 01/13/2009

J.A. Adande, from ESPN:

…Jan. 13, 1999, was the final moment of the basketball player as icon, a business perfected by Jordan in a way that never will be seen again.There were more than 800 reporters in the United Center that day. I was part of a two-man team from the Los Angeles Times. Can you imagine more than 800 reporters from around the country converging to cover a retirement news conference today, with a bank of 25 cameras focused on one individual and a fleet of satellite trucks parked outside to beam his words to the world?

Michael Jordan Press Pass

J.A. Adande: This is the press pass from MJ's retirement conference.

[…]There’ll never be another Jordan the way there’ll never be another Johnny Carson or another Walter Cronkite. Individuals don’t hold our interest that regularly and that long anymore.

You can read the rest here.

I posted this because even after 10 years, I still remember this day. Crazy, isn’t it?

I was in 8th grade, in Mrs. Sanchez’s history class–1st period, I think. We had a sort of a laid back day in class. We had a TV in the classroom, and several of my classmates were young hoop heads. I particularly remember Westley Watkins vouching for the TV to be turned on, so that we can tune into MJ’s retirement news conference. Taking his lead, we egged our teacher on until she conceded and turned on the TV for us. ESPN had been running something like a 3-day marathon of MJ highlights–all the way from his early years, Laney High, North Carolina, Dunk Contests, the first 3-peat, 1st retirement, baseball, “I’m Back,” #45, and to his second 3-peat. It was like watching the legend of a cultural phenomena unfold.

That one person can attract and command so much attention and admiration is mind-boggling. And even after a decade, as evidenced by Adande’s article, the influence he still holds in basketball and the sports world at large is immeasurable. Simply put, legendary.

‘Course, Jordan would come back for one last hurrah with the Wizards, but that didn’t really count. THE Michael Jordan as we wish to know him went into retirement 10 years ago today. And I thank him for the 14 seasons prior to his retirement, for exciting sports fans and intruducing basketball to the world with undeniable force. If it weren’t for MJ and the likes of Magic/Bird, maybe I never fall in love with the sport.

10 years later, the feeling still resonates.


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