Michael, Michael, Motorcycle

As you may have heard, Michael Jordan is widely considered a Hall of Fame-caliber basketball player. And in about two weeks, on September 11, Springfield will make it official by inaugurating him into the Hall. To ensure people don’t forget who Jordan was, the museum’s curators have even gone so far as to partner with Jordan Brand to put together an exhibit that will run through the rest of 2009 called “Becoming Legendary: The Michael Jordan Story.”

Not to be outdone, ESPN has seemingly also partnered with the Jordan Brand to put together a Jumpman-laden, online feature that presents Mike’s 23 greatest moments in both video and written form. While the inclusion of so many logos might make Sportscenter anchor Josh Elliot’s head explode, I kid about the sponsorship part (I think). Regardless, the thing looks very good thus far.

Unfortunately, they have made it a countdown where you can only see those videos that have been released already, meaning that you can only watch moments number 23, 22, 2 and 20 as of today. But the videos do come along with written commentary from the likes of Coach Bobby Cremins, whose Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets got lit up for 39 by Jordan in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1983 for moment #23, and Joe Dumars, who got lit up by Jordan many, many times and had to watch helplessly from the ground as MJ drilled a 30-foot, game-winning three over him in 1992 for moment #20.

Writes Dumars:

It was only a matter of whether I’d be able to force him into a tough shot. I did. He was so far behind the 3-point line, but that wasn’t enough.

Keep your head up, Joe. You certainly did better than Craig Ehlo.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing/reading the rest, and ESPN advises us to “Check back daily as new videos are released, all leading up to his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Slam magazine, too, is all about Jordan this month with a full issue dedicated to him that’s aptly titled “Slam Presents: Jordan.” I bought this “Hall of Fame Tribute” that’s “100% Mike” the other day and, while it’s nice to have all this stuff bound together in one place, avid Slam readers will soon realize that it is mostly just rehashed coverage from the past. It’s all good though, since we get to read some classic pieces from former editors @RussBengston and Scoop Jackson as well as relive some old Slamadamonths and “walk down memory lane” (wait for it…) in a feature that breaks down all the Air Jordan “sneakers” (…there it is) from I-XX3. (The piece is similar to Nike’s online timeline of Air Jordans, but even though it doesn’t have the cool interactiveness of the corporate spot, it does have some nice factoids and descriptions that you probably won’t hear about as succinctly elsewhere.) All told, this “Special Collector’s Issue” is probably worth your $7.99 — particularly if you haven’t previously read all the pieces that Scoop and Russ did back when Mike was actually playing. (And if you still have $24.99 left over, buy the Ultimate Jordan DVD collection. It’s the best value I’ve ever gotten out of a sports DVD set other than this one about Muhammad Ali.)

While it’s great that all this stuff is out there, fear not, sports fans; Springfield, Bristol and the Slam Dome aren’t the only ones getting in on the predictable commemoration/coronation/nostalgiation of the man widely viewed as the best to ever lace em up. Yours truly is also writing about the one they call Air Jordan aka MJ aka Money aka Hir Airness aka Johnny Kilroy aka Motorboat Jones aka Superman (?) aka Mike … … Okay. Wait? What? Basketball-Reference actually lists “Mike” as an official nickname for the man on its Michael Jordan page? That seems like overkill, particularly when the well-known, French point guard in San Antonio whose full name you probably don’t even know (William Anthony Parker) doesn’t even get a “Tony” mention. (Nor is there a “Fiery Francophile,” a “Parisian Torpedo” or a “Main Butter & Egg Man” mention, it should be noted. Watch this video if that previous sentence understandably makes no sense.)

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, right. Here’s the MJ piece I wrote for Hardwood Paroxysm.

It’s about how even if someday someone somehow comes along who is better at the sport of basketball than Mike, it will be very hard to convince anyone of that fact given that we all lived through MJ’s perfect career trajectory and are still experiencing the expanding mythos of MJ everyday. For evidence, see all the stuff discussed above. Keep in mind, however, that in no way is any of this at all intended to be disparaging to the G.O.A.T.; the post is just talking about how it will be nearly impossible to ever change the perception of perfection that is so deeply ingrained into our collective fan psychology.

Whoa. Sorry for all those polysyllabic words. I blacked out for a minute. Will not happen again.

UPDATE: In related news, the fine print regarding an upcoming Michael Jordan mini-golf tournament might be the best thing I’ve read in weeks.

MJ 23 Moments ESPN

You guys hear about this Jordan guy? I believe it’s “Jordan” … or “Your-dan.” It might be a soft “J.” Apparently, he’s going into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s supposed to be wild.

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