Speak out: 50 points on the 50th birthday of the greatest player ever-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
MICHAEL JORDAN. MJ. Mike. His Airness. Number 23. Well you know the guy. His name is a brand and when people talk about basketball supremacy, they talk about him. He is the standard. He’s the G.O.A.T.(Greatest Of All Time). He’s a legend. He is my ultimate idol and most probably everyone else’s too.
On Feb. 17, he turned 50 and I think it’s only fitting that I pay tribute to His Airness by listing down 50 amazing memories. Cause nothing says happy birthday MJ better than reliving his wonderful legacy. So, here goes..
1.) “From North Carolina, at guard, 6-6, number twenty-three, Michaaaaaeeeelllll Joooorrrrrdddaaaannnn.”
2.) The tongue. Once it’s out, it’s best to just get out of the way.
3.) Slam Dunk Contest. 1988. Head above the rim and taking off from the FT line dunks. “Look at the air, look at the hang time, look at the flying motion.”
4.) Scoring 40 points and winning the MVP award in the 1988 All-Star game in Chicago
5.) Larry Bird saying, “I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan.” after he put up 63 points at the Boston Garden.
6.) Three seconds left, Bulls down by 1 against the Cavs, Chicago ball: “Michael at the foul line, a shot on Ehlo, great! Bulls win!”
7.) Sweeping and finally getting past the Detroit Pistons and advancing to the next round after three straight years of failing to do so.
8.) The poetry-in-motion right to left, dunk to layup shift mid-air against Magic and the Lakers
9.) Championship number 1. 1991. Crying while hugging the long overdue(after seven years) and hard-earned trophy.
10.) Attacking mindset vs. Phoenix in a championship game. Doesn’t matter how many guys they put on him, he always goes strong to the hole everytime he has the ball.
11.) His game-winning assists in two different finals games; to John Paxson against . the Suns and to Steve Kerr years later against the Jazz
12.) Championship number 2. 1992. Back-to-back!
13.) His friendship with Charles Barkley that’s built on mutual respect and admiration after their’ finals showdown.
14.) Shooting free throws with eyes closed as he trash-talked with and was challenged
by Dikembe Motumbo. Deke should’ve known better
15.) His follow-up dunk from a Scottie Pippen missed free throw. Coming out of nowhere and elevating just inside the circle.
16.) Shaking off and getting away from John Starks and Charles Oakley at the baseline then dunking on Patrick Ewing.
17.) Winning the gold medal for USA with the 1992 dream team as they crushed their opponents with a 50-point winning margin average.
18.) Thirty-five points in the 1st half vs. Portland including six for six three-pointers and a shrug as if saying he also can’t believe it.
19.) Championship number 3. 1993. 1st 3-peat.
20.) Playing baseball to honor his late father’s dream.
21.) Space Jam. “I believe I can fly.” Best basketball movie ever.
22.) Comeback no. 1. After 17 months of retirement, he finally uttered the two words everybody wanted to hear, “I’m back.”
23.) Number 45.
24.) Double-nickel game. Scoring 55 points vs. the Knicks in his 1st game at the Madison Square Garden since his return.
25.) Back to no. 23. Back to what worked for him. I remember he jokingly remarked to a player wearing 45, “That’s a badluck number.”
26.) Leading Chicago to a 72-10 win-loss record.
27.) Championship no. 4.
28.) Crying while lying prone on the floor with the game ball after winning the above
championship on Father’s day, remembering his Dad.
29.) Recording first ever triple-double(14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists) in an all-star game.
30.) Triple-double streak of 10 out of 11 games averaging 33.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 11.4 assists in the 1988-89 season.
31.) The Flu game. He was tired and drained and really sick but he suited up played through it and got the job done. Strong will and determination.
32.) Championship no. 5. Back-to-back again!
33.) The Last shot. Game 6. Against the Jazz. Crossover dribble. Brian Russell going down. MJ pulling up from the free throw line then sinking a beautiful shot and the
34. Championship no. 6. Second 3-peat. Last title.
35.) Comeback No. 2. From Washington Wizards President of Basketball Operations to player.
36.) Oldest player at the age of 38 to score 51 points
37.) Oldest player at the age of 40 to score 43 points.
38.) Forty year-old MJ getting a chin injury after he crashed on the floor while diving for a loose ball.
39.) Announcing that the 2002-2003 NBA season will be his last and the tributes in every city he’s played in since then.
40.) The last All-Star game of his career. 2003. His fade-away jumper at the corner to give the East the lead would’ve been the perfect ending as that also made him all-time leading scorer in All-Star game history but the referee spoilt it by calling a foul at the other end. Game went to OT and the West won.
41.) Tribute for him at halftime of that game.
42. Last game at the United Center in Chicago, an arena dubbed as “the house that
Michael Jordan built”.
43. His very last NBA game of the season and of his career in Philadelphia.
44. His three retirements.
45. In a Charlotte Bobcats basketball camp, at 48 years of age, Michael Jordan dunked!
46. Hall of Fame induction.
47. Scottie Pippen tweeting: “Sitting next to an old friend as we watch my Bulls and his Bobcats at the United Center.”
48. Jam music video with Michael Jackson, His commercials: Old MJ vs. Young MJ vs. Younger MJ for Gatorade and Become Legendary videos for Jumpman23.
49. This quote: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
50. How he changed the game of basketball. How he influences others to be better. How the generation of ballers succeeding him all look up to him and want to be like him.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2013.