Air Today, Gone Tomorrow: Can D.C. Fans Celebrate Michael Jordan's Enshrinement?
Don’t even try it, Wizards fans.
As much as we would like to grab hold of something immortal, something like the center of the basketball universe to infuse a little sunlight into our dreary hardwood worlds, there’s no reason to crash a party we ought to have no interest in.
Michael Jordan is not ours to celebrate. We can celebrate him as a legend, someone who helped the NBA grow to extraordinary heights of marketability and global appeal, but not as a monument in Washington basketball.
He is and always will be a Chicago Bull.
I'm not particularly a Michael Jordan fan, and I freely admit this. Jordan was no different from the transients who have come here to party for Howard Homecoming, or to visit the National Monument, or to conduct business with their legal team at Williams and Connolly LLP.
He was a visitor—a businessman who was willing to make money and have fun at the expense of the Washington Wizards and the hearts of those fans who follow the team.
We all knew it too. We didn't expect championships. We didn't even expect relevance beyond what Jordan would be able to do in the waning years of his stellar career. It was a farewell tour with a final stop at the MCI Center.
The greatest basketball player of all time ended his career in the nation's capital, with a team he was arrogant enough to believe he could resurrect from years of mediocrity.
It's bittersweet because he cares so little for his time spent in Washington, team executives care very little for the mark he left on the franchise, and fans are somewhere in between with a "What just happened here?" look in their eyes.
Nobody thinks of Vince Lombardi as coach of the Washington football team, and nobody will think of Jordan as a Washington Wizard.
So when you watch his induction speech, don't get happy inside like he was somebody in our community or integrated into our basketball psyche.
Respect him for who he is, and what he’s done, but the City of Washington, D.C. and Wizards basketball are two separate entities from that entire equation.
He was a visitor. We wish him well.
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