Remembering Michael Jackson in Music and in Sports

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Remembering Michael Jackson in Music and in Sports

I dedicate the list to the one and only King of Pop, Michael Jackson, whom we lost on Thursday, June 25.

The list takes some of Michael’s biggest hits and attaches them to someone in sports.

Before, Jackson became Jacko and went too far off the wall, if you grew up in the late 1970s through the 1980s like I did, there was not a bigger celebrity than Michael.

The Thriller album has sold more than 110 million copies. That number will go even higher, as his record sales after his death have skyrocketed. The next biggest selling album is Back in Black by AC-DC which has sold less than half that of Thriller, with about 45 million copies.

The only sports record that could put that into perspective was Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak. Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games; he bested Lou Gehrig’s record by 502 games. Everett Scott is third on that list with 1,307 games.

But, where Ripken really separates himself is actively in Major League Baseball. No player is close to even half of Ripken’s total. The current active leader is the San Diego Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez at around 300 games.

All this weekend, I have been listening to the King of Pop’s music, and remembering how good that music was. There have been songs I have not listened to in more than ten years, but somehow my brain remembers the lyrics exactly. I wish my memory was that good in other areas of my life!

His music was more a part of my life than I knew. I knew where I was when I first saw the Thriller video on MTV, when his hair caught on fire during that Pepsi commercial, when he captured eight phonographs at the 1984 Grammy Awards, etc.

I am going to remember Michael Jackson in a positive spotlight. I think his problems in his life trace back to growing up. Michael grew up in front of all of us. He was seven years old at the start of the Jackson 5. He was ten years old when the Jackson 5 had their first No. 1 hit with, “I Want You Back."

I could not imagine my childhood as a star recording artist with a very demanding father. It is likely that Michael never played Little League or had much time to associate with friends in school, like so many of us did.

If there was one person in music capable of pulling off a comeback like Elvis did, in his ’68 Comeback Special, it was Michael Jackson.

Sadly, we will never see that comeback.

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