Re: Hatin'


Michael Jordan is no longer famous?

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 7:36 PM
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Anyway, the critique seems fairly straightforward. He's not coming down on MJ's playin, well, he does seem to jip him some credit, but his main focus is on's Jordan's usage of his fame. He is apparantly disappointed that Jordan used his fame only to make ungodly sums of jack, and would accept those ungoldly sums from whoever was the highest bidder. The writer would plainly have preferred that MJ championed some social causes, and showed more discrimination in whom he lent his name to. Without checking, I would guess this writer is black.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 7:43 PM
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Ok, checked, and he is most decidedly not black. But he is liberal. And I still stand by my interpretation: he's chiding MJ for not standing for anyting besides a great game and lots of money. Unfortunatly, I don't know enough about Jordan to know if this is a fair critique.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 7:46 PM
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But where does he actually say what you think he says?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 7:47 PM
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The last couple of months have been a triumph of banality, even by Jordan's standards, which always have been considerable.


Michael Jordan was a great player. He also was a great salesman. And that was all he ever was.


Jordan's vast success as a pitchman is misinterpreted as being as revolutionary a development as Elvis' first appearance at Sun Studios or Jackie Robinson's first appearance at Ebbets Field, when it actually was soulless and almost completely devoid of any lasting resonance outside of pure consumerism. Seriously, how many fewer hamburgers would McDonald's have sold had the young Michael Jordan taken up the saxophone instead? The man determined early on to be a walking blue-chip portfolio...Michael Jordan never took any risk that might cost him a dime.

These are personal attacks on the man himself, not his game. Again, I think you're right that Pierce gives Jordan's game short shift. But, if you think what would answer all of Pierce's charges of soulessness and banality, of homogenization and corporatism, the answer is that Pierce doesn't think Jordan ever used his considerable fame for any kind of message. Maybe this article was catalyzed by the upcoming holiday. But that's why it seems Pierce thinks Jordan's forgettable. He's a corporate icon, not a people's icon. *shrug*

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 8:01 PM
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I can guess at what he means too, but take a look at that column: it's a bizarre thing to make so many nasty attacks on someone and never say what he should have done differently.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 8:05 PM
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Yeah, that's kind of why he I assumed he was black, though I know it's stereotypin'. And I what I mean by that is that black liberals' expectations of social activism among black celebrities is fairly ubiquitous and well-known.But yeah, it's badly written.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 8:11 PM
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The point of the column is simply that Jordan was not, it turns out, all that (and a bag of chips). And to that extent, I agree.

Look, Ogged, I loved Jordan right out of the box. Still do. But he was, as Pierce said, a seeming end-point - the optimal version of a specific type of player. But he wasn't a new type of player. He was just an object lesson in why you might want to take every lesson from every coach you ever had to heart - he demonstrated what great fundamentals + great athletic ability + an unbelievable fury to win could yield. And it was amazing.

But, for example, he wasn't Magic (who I don't like nearly as much as Jordan). We've seen people with Jordan-like skills (though none with the purity of his fury), but the only person who might remotely be compared to Magic in the last 25 years is Jason Kidd. And even that's a joke. Jordan's understanding of the game is roughly the same as mine, just deeper, richer, and processed at a much faster pace. But there are passes of Magic's that I still don't get - I don't know how he could predict so well in what direction all of the pieces would shift.

And I think what motivates Pierce's piece, although it's left unsaid, is that its sad seeing Achilles get old and thick around the middle.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 8:48 PM
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That was me, above. Sorry about that.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 8:48 PM
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Posted by: [redacted] | Link to this comment | 01-14-05 10:06 PM
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I clearly agree on the blandness, and I admit I'm not sure about how much 'intent' factors into Pierce's critique. (I haven't re-read the piece, nor did I do much more than skim it the first time, because I think it's written pretty badly). In any case, as LeBron gets better, reminding everyone of what it was like to watch a young Jordan, you're going to see a lot more re-appraisals of Jordan's late career.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-15-05 8:04 AM
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What seperates Jordan from the players of today was his single mindedness .... he was committed to winning and he never took his eye off of the ring.

Posted by: Joseph Olde | Link to this comment | 01-16-05 1:14 PM
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Michael Jordan epitomizes EVERYTHING that is wrong with the game of Basketball today; why it's a joke like Professional Wrestling instead of the great game it was.

Selfishness and individualism to the extreme? Check.

Showboating and showing up opponents and teammates? Check.

Focus on stats and game performance instead of winning (in the regular season)? Check.

About the best that can be said for Jordan is that he did want to win in the regular season. If you wonder why most of the league doesn't care about winning but rather individual contracts, sponsorship deals, and personal stats, etc. you need look no farther than Jordan.

You can draw a direct line from Kobe Bryant, who cares more about his stats and superstar status than winning, from Michael Jordan.

Team Play? Sportsmanship? Winning attitude? Listening to coaches? No instead Jordan turned the game into a bunch of guys playing their own one-one games at the same time on the same court.

Jordan wrecked the game.

Posted by: Jim Rockford | Link to this comment | 01-16-05 6:49 PM
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Jim says,

Focus on stats and game performance instead of winning (in the regular season)? Check.

Jim also says,

About the best that can be said for Jordan is that he did want to win in the regular season.

Say what?

And you say that Jordan, who wanted to win more badly than anyone, ever, is responsible for players not wanting to win?

And you think you can draw a direct line from Michael to Kobe? Based on how Kobe ran his best teammate out of town and Michael played with his best teammate for over a decade? Or maybe it was Michael's six championships that convinced you he didn't care about winning?

Anyone can string a bunch of accusation together, Jim, but you're not even close to the real world.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-16-05 8:02 PM
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See, the thing is, we take people and we put them on a pedastle. We do that without even thinking about it. Sometimes the people on the pedastle encourage it, sometimes they discourage it. It doesn't matter to us, though. Up they go.

And then.

And then we tear them down. We criticize them for not being worthy of being on a pedastle. We find some flaw or hint of humainty and then feel free to demonize them. How dare they be on that pedastle! We love to tear them down.

Thus it has always been.

We do it to women, we do it to men - athletes, actors, and politicians. We do it to our parents, and to our children. Some do it to their spouses.

This article says more about the writer than it does about Jordan.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 01-17-05 10:02 AM
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I really don't know a lot about Jordan, but his name isn't synonymous with any causes of which I can think, and no one has here defended his social work. That's not proof positive, but at least indicates his work in that area was probably marginal, at best.

The question, Tripp, is do people with fame and fortune have a moral responsibility to do what they can to those less fortunate? Particularly if said person comes from a people who are disadvantaged minority? A lot of people are going to say yes, and I think I'd agree. The follow-up question is, what is the degree of this responsibility? Hard to answer, but Jordan seems to have fallen short by the standards of some.

A lot of other people have fallen short as well, I'm sure. But few people have achieved the status of Jordan. Maybe no one has. Oprah isn't imitated by first-graders, and young inner-city youth selling drugs, and adults with careers of all races alike. He was in a unique position, for sending out a message. And if you believe that position was inherent with the burden of moral responsibility of doing works, then, I can see how you'd be disappointed, even a little angry, at Jordan.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 01-17-05 11:03 AM
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Noblesse oblige.

I tend to disagree with it.

I think it is admirable, wonderful, many other superlatives, but I do not think it is a responsibility.

If the Genie grants your wish does it have to be for the good of humankind?

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 01-17-05 1:19 PM
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I fail to see the point. Why does the public seem to think they can make star athletes into something we have no right to expect. MJ was worth the price of admission. He is/was a gifted athlete who was one of the best BB players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Does that mean we the public has a right to expect him to be our front man for what ever worthy cause we want??

Bobby Orr probably had a much bigger impact on hockey and that impact persists today. Do we criticize him for not being socially active??

MJ didn't change BB. He just applied atheletic perfection to the game. Bill Russell changed the way BB was played.

Posted by: Chief | Link to this comment | 01-18-05 11:04 AM
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I was watching one of my old Simpson's VHS (late 80s, early 90s) tapes a few months ago and came across a bunch of Michael Jordan ads. One of them was for something like the "McJordan Burger" or the "McMike" and I remember finding it so silly that I thought "sheesh, is there anything this guy didn't lend his name too?."

I don't know that it makes him a bad person, but his public persona was indeed quite shallow and empty.

Posted by: skippy | Link to this comment | 01-18-05 12:29 PM
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The bobby orr comment makes a lot of sense. Nobody critizes white athletes for stuff like this. Some people are just shallow; it isn't a crime.

Posted by: Joe O | Link to this comment | 01-19-05 11:26 AM
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