Tuesday, July 18th, 2006 at 8:45 am  |  17 responses


Be Like Mike

Originally published in SLAM 6

The 6th Man: Recently, I came across an article in an unnamed news periodical entitled “Why Sports Don’t Matter Anymore”. The writer, a published author, made a tidy case about sports’ lessening relevance in today’s society, supporting his theory with phrases like “irrevocably destabilized” and “symbolic reconstitution”.

Needless to say, it made my head throb.

Maybe sports doesn’t matter to those journalists who could over-intellectualize a knock-knock joke, but to the rest of us in the country, whose weekends are filled with faded t-shirts and scuffed kicks; parks, playgrounds and pizza afterward, they mean a lot. To some people, sports mean more than a lot; they mean everything.

To equate sports and professional sports (as the article did, and countless others have) is over-simplification anyway. The true essence of hoops, for example, is not Shaq or Charles Barkley (pg. 38) or-I can’t believe I’m actually saying this-even Michael Jordan (pg. 42). It’s Sybil Smith (who you’ll read about in Hype) and Mike Frensley (likewise), two athletes who’ll likely never make a dime professionally from a skill they spend countless hours honing. It’s the UCONN women’s team (pg. 58) playing the game as harmoniously as the 50′s-era Celtics. It’s Jim Valvano’s ’82 Wolfpack team (pg. 106) and Rollie Massimino’s ’85 Villanova squad, both underdogs and both champions. It’s a friend’s wheelchair basketball game.

Sports is an outdoor court in Chicago, where a bunch of strangers-white, brown, red, yellow and blue-choose up sides for a grueling run where the winners gain nothing more than ‘next’.

That’s what it is to me anyway. And if that doesn’t matter anymore, people, than nothing does. Peace.

Tony Gervino

Issue 6 Jordan

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  • Marcel

    Of course there would be many more, there would never be any other era like Mike’s.

  • Marcel

    Of course there would be many more, but there would never be any other era like Mike’s.

  • Simon Fuller

    Allow to become the one millionth person to let you know that MJ did not retire before he was 30. Come on, Lang, you’re better than that…

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    That was my fault, not Lang’s. So he was 30 on the dot. My bad.

  • VanillaGorilla

    Yep, there it is! That was my very first SLAM issue. And I think the first which had found the way to Germany back then. After another long pause of about 10 issues it (SLAM) finally made the breakthrough over here for good…for 13$…per issue!

  • Ben

    @ Van

    Woher kommst Du denn, hab mir meine erste Slam (05) hier in Leipzig gekauft und der Internationale Presse Shop hatte eigentlich bis auf ein paar Lieferprobleme immer die Slam im Regal…?



  • VanillaGorilla


    Dann hing Köln zu der Zeit wahrscheinlich etwas hinterher. Es kann natürlich auch sein,dass ich IMMER derjenige war, der NACH dem Typen kam,der sich gerade die letzte Ausgabe unter den Nagel gerissen hat. Shit happens. Grüß Leipzig!

  • Robert

    GOD DAMN IT WRITE ENGLISH,oh the caps lock was on

  • dabulls#1fan

    no-one in da league could make a face like that and not get clowned unless it was mj the g.o.a.t. Man i miss wacthing him hoop

  • chi-town/LA’s#1fan

    no-one in da league could make a face like that and not get clowned unless it was MJ the g.o.a.t. Man i miss watching him hoop

  • greg

    mike was growlling at all you celine dion
    fetish freaks cause you all layed down serious doe to wear his stuff on your feet.and then the intire world said man that guys the greatest
    he was great but off the court he just made alot of money which is the new religion of b ball he never pushed the envelope he just thought up new markets and statagie and the american public bowed to his homogenious culture of making moneyand felt un theathened

  • http://www.beepworld.de/members100/olafrostek o-2da-luv &smarti

    olaf stinkt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ryan

    My very very first SLAM. iwll never forget this issue. Anyone remember Jalen Rose’s Adidas ratBall ad in this one?


    Jordan is the greatest player ever. That is it no one will ever be better (that goes to Lebron to).

  • http://www.nba.com/ hursty

    if only rak rak knew how close LeBron and Kobe would come in the future.

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