Words by Justin Walsh
“I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway”
That’s how it must feel, your blood like seeds from the tree of life. Your father, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Your father, legend to the hardwood, coated in shine, laden with sweat, speckled with blood. Your father, the savior to our souls, our dreams have been wrought with the release over Ehlo. You play a bad game, possibly a dreadful one. You garner claps, you’re serenaded with the love of a father’s acts and therein lies the fork in the road — you can either ride the coattails of a father so mythical, act a shadow to his steps… Or you can forge a different path, shrug off the clichés and do work.
“With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’
I can see where I am goin’
With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’
I can see where I am”
“Who am I?” One might ask in his position. We start with the basics. His airness was a murderous righty. Right hand dominance? Sod that, let’s give the world a lefty. Coming out of high school Air Jordan was a tremendous athlete, raw in fundamentals, but his wrists were coated with callous upon callous from a long relationship with the rims he met each day, his calves were simply the base for his perverse way of treating opponents — Shock & Awe. We wont bother with what’s already been done — let’s go the Will Ferrell route a la Step Brothers: “…Here to f*ck sh*t up.” Marcus’ game is nuanced with a grinding curl from a simple pick, a quick hesitation dribble and he’s gone to the rim — a high leaner off the glass, two points. He adds to his repertoire with moves, jumpers and footwork like a family setting up a game of Jenga. Soon enough, a defender will make a wrong move, pull the wrong block, and the entire game will come crashing down on the defender like an avalanche to a snowboarder. It was bound to happen, it was inevitable. The analysts simply leaned back in their fold outs, seated directly behind the table with all the computers and the score man and waited for for all hell to break loose.
“Fill up the gates but block the flow
Tilt back the head before they blow
Sit back again enjoy the show
My life’s a movie now”
His life is fodder for celluloid, calories for the bottomless pit of hunger so aptly named keyboards. He’s the son of Michael Jordan for god’s sake. It must be like a tedious cake walk in circles for him, marching to the beat of a record he’s probably heard ten too many times, hoping to win himself something, longing not to have to go back to his pops to do it for him with his wallet. It’s known that it used to bother him, probably similar to a kid poking you with a stick over and over again, waiting for confirmation that you’re still alive. But long ago he went through the five stages of being the son of the G.O.A.T. and accepted that it’s probably not realistic to think he would make it to the level that his father got to in this beautiful, ironic game. Hellbent on making it on his own accord, he went to work. He has faced many bumps along the way, similar to his older brother Jeffrey’s — Jeff had problems getting recruited, later became a walk on freshman on the team at Illinois. Marcus has had more offers (Toledo, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Butler, Davidson, Marquette and a few others), but recruiting analysts for the major names (Rivals, Scout, ESPN) are hesitant to bring praise to the young lefty. Their rationale is admirable, albeit unfair: nobody wants to over-hype the G.O.A.T’s offspring and set him up for failure.
“I don’t believe that anything is wrong
Close my eyes and I will be strong
By tomorrow I will have moved on
I don’t believe that anything is wrong”
Marcus isn’t the outcome of nepotism, he isn’t the product of a mass marketed hype machine, clothed in the rags and riches of outside interests. He wears the shoe of his surname, the shirt of his surname, and so on and so forth. Must be like two people tugging at opposite limbs, slowly tearing ligaments and dislocating joints — on one hand he’s embraced that he’s the son of the Omega of hoops. On the other hand, he strives to make a name for himself, if at all possible. Marcus or bust, if you will.
“Tick tock the clock is getting faster
Can’t sit back
And watch the world move backwards
He’s got to be moving forwards
He’s got to be moving faster”
At Whitney Young, Marcus made his name. He led his team to the state final this year. He did him, and by the end of the game, Waukegan was defeated, 69-66. Marcus Jordan fashioned himself some points, 19 in all, ending his HS basketball career with a title; somewhat reminiscent of another Jordan’s career ending title for the Bulls (Those Wizards’ years were a bad dream, we’ve since been awakened to find ourselves in the 90’s still), as a clutch performer. Marcus didn’t sink a jumper to end it. He sunk four shots from 15 feet, all worth 1 point apiece, in the final 0:26 of the game. Just like everything else in his life, the same, but different. And when the buzzer was sound, the title a lock… Among the fans clapping, screaming and chanting, was a 6-6 statuesque figure with rings clamped on his fingers, tears rolling down his face with pride for his son. The reporters asked Michael about it afterward — “Crying?” Jordan said, “I’m not crying. Not for me, anyway.”
“A rendezvous for the new revolutionist
This new revolution is
Whatever it is”
Just like the lyrics said, a rendezvous for the revolutionist. This revolution is whatever it is. Marcus is his own destiny, whatever it is.
Note: all lyrics from various songs by The Arcade Fire.