There are no ifs and or buts about it. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in the history of the game.
Years from now, there will be a generation of youngsters that will try to make a case for Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. When that argument is made, I will laugh and pop in some footage of Jordan making Creg Ehlo his personal whipping boy en route to one of the six NBA titles he won with the Bulls.
While the generation older than me makes the Bill Russell argument, note that Russell played with a dozen Hall of Famers. Jordan played with one future HOFer and a bunch of guys who rode his coattails to greatness.
So, what else will I always remember about His Airness?
The baggy shorts? Check. Bulls gear in a Bears town? Check. The shoes? Check to the seventh power.
I've owned seven pairs of Air Jordans in my life and am currently wearing this pair as I type this. Jordan was so much of a trendsetter, people have named birthdays after him. Yes. And here's a story.
In late June, NBA Jeff and SalukiOrphan were out at a local establishment pondering a prospective game plan for my 23rd birthday. That is when we came to the conclusion that I should party like Mike. That sparked the idea of begging my parents for a Jordan-esque birthday gift. In the end, I received a MJ watch, jersey and (of course) the shoes.
But it wasn't the first time this had happened. Apparently, my mother told the story of the Jordan Birthday to a friend at work, who laughed it off saying that she threw her son a Michael Jordan birthday party a year ago with the No. 23 sprinkled throughout the day.
You know you're the G.O.A.T. when kids are looking to celebrate their birthday in your honor.
The Guy Who Beat (Almost) All Of His Enemies
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is the sole reason that Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, John Stockton and Karl Malone do not have championship rings. Jordan's Bulls were the ultimate cockblock for those great players, and it took his retirement after the 1998 season for David Robinson to finally get his ring.
Jordan will always be known for conquering each of his opponents.
Except the curveball, of course.
The New York City Tease
Knicks fans and NBA execs drooled over the idea of having the G.O.A.T. play on the world's biggest stage inside the world's greatest arena. Too bad for Knicks fans, it never happened.
The United Center will forever be known as The House That Jordan Built. Madison Square Garden should always be remembered as The House That Jordan Torched. He averaged 32.6 PPG against the Knicks in his career. The only team he scored at a higher average was against the Phoenix Suns.
So, Cubs & White Sox fans, if a New Yorker ever gives you crap about your lack of World Series hardware, ask them about their NBA trophies. Be prepared to shield yourself as their heads will likely explode from the rage.
So many memories have been told and re-told by others. And here is mine.
It was June 1998 and I was in the second month of having a full cast on my right leg after suffering a broken bone while making a diving catch as a Little League Baseball player. I wore the No. 9, which of course has Jordan significance as he wore that number during the Olympic games. Anyway.
I was resigned to the fate that I would be watching the NBA Finals from the (dis) comfort of my bed as I had to sit up and watch the television at a diagonal angle. It wasn't pleasant, but it was the Bulls and the NBA Finals. It was a tradition. If it wasn't Harry Cary, it was Marv Albert, Bob Costas and the best sports theme music in the history of music that was the soundtrack to my childhood.
Everyone remembers what should have been the final shot in Jordan's career, but I will always remember hopping on one foot and a crutch celebrating the victory.
The Best Dressed Man In The Room
They say beauty is in the eye of the