Thursday, August 17th, 2006 at 7:00 am  |  6 responses

SLAM #28

The Joy Of Six

Originally published in SLAM 28

The 6th Man: The Jordan Show. Ever heard of it? Thought not. It’s this basketball TV show that follows the exploits of a superhuman basketball arteest named Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Thing is this: it’s fake. The team isn’t real, the coaches aren’t real and yeah, Dennis Rodman is nothing more than a highly paid actor whose sole purpose is to give “Michael Jordan”—at least we think that’s his name— a comic foil.

How did I figure this out? Well, to be honest, I’ve had a sinking feeling for the last few years that something was fishy. It all seemed so perfect: Here is this guy. From a supportive family. Great smile. All-American at UNC. ’85 NBA Rookie of the Year. Nice to kids. Parents. Grandparents. Talks the talk in the boardroom. Oh yeah, a guy who’s won six rings, with one-half the talent on his roster that those old Celtics and Lakers teams had. But what he had was worth even more—an unquenchable thirst for the big moment and an inexhaustable desire to come out on top. (Sounds too much like The Lou Gehrig Story if you ask me.)

Need more proof? Check out some of these improbable plot lines:

—On an ’82 UNC team filled with future NBA stars Big Game James and Sleepy Sam, Coach Dean Smith drew up a play where “Michael Jordan” got to hit the game-winning shot with a few seconds on the clock. As a freshman. (Yeah, sure.)

—Scored 63 against the Celtics in a 135-131 double-OT playoff game in ’86, many of them against Larry Legend himself. At one point in the third, “Michael Jordan” yelled “All day, baby. All day.” (Rumor has it that this was an ad-lib. What he was really supposed to say was “It’s that easy.”)

—In ’95, came out of “retirement” (a corny plot-device that attempted to bring “Michael Jordan” back to earth—you know, to make the character seem more human to the audience.) and scored 55 on the Knicks. Spike Lee made a cameo here as a howling, pained auteur. (At best, improbable. At worst, some hackneyed shit.)

—In the ’97 Finals, “Michael Jordan” was allegedly so ill he could barely walk. He looked green as he took the court in Utah and during time outs needed to be helped to the bench by six-time Best Supporting Actor Nominee Scottie Pippen. But just when things looked their bleakest, “MJ” managed to score 38 points, snare seven boards and dish five assists, all without his green makeup running. (A nice twist to an otherwise boring series.)

There are literally thousands more games where “MJ” was just a little too good to be true, and now that he may retire (again), the truth may never be known. Except right here. So I’m onto you, “Michael Jordan” or whatever the hell your name is. The jig is up. Now give me back my damn Roberto Clemente card.


Tony Gervino

PS. One more question: Where in the hell did they find the guy who plays “superagent David Falk”?

Issue 28 Jordan

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  • Chris O’Leary

    A classic cover, and look at those shoes.

  • DBlizzy

    Yeah, artistically it’s a very beautiful cover. The fact that MJ is dark skinned (I’m black as hell to I can say this) he just blended in perfectly with the whole color scheme. They should have changed his logo to this siluette after he came back. And I don’t remember any Wizards thing, what are you guys talkin about?

  • stinger

    money doing what he did best; giving us memories we could never forget

  • Sven

    Michael Jordan deserves to be on this magazine. He’s the greatest basketball player with an 48 inch vertical leap.You dont see Kobe Bryant jumping like that with his 38 inch vertical leap. This Magazine is cool because MJ’s on the cover anything inside I dont care unless it’s about MJ or LeBron James.

  • http://icyhott420@yahoo.com Scott Carter

    Behold, the SLAM issue that got me hooked on the mag in the first place. Great piece on Nick Anderson, and his ’98 comeback. And I enjoyed the work Scoop Jackson did on the Larry Bird piece. Absolutely loved it. Thanks SLAM.

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