True greatness recognizes itself in others, and even Michael Jordan realizes when he’s in the presence of true talent.
Directly from the Zubaz-lined vaults of the 1990s, this is a video of Jordan approaching Ken Griffey Jr. and asking for his John Hancock at the 1993 All-Star Game.
The video was plumbed from the depths of the Internet by Michael Leboff of Next Impulse Sports and shows Jordan (then in the Chicago White Sox system) tracking down the Seattle Mariners superstar with a bat for him to sign.
The scene is a bit surreal, considering Jordan—the most famous athlete the world has ever known—comes to Griffey Jr. much like any other baseball fan. Like a young kid meeting his heroes, Jordan has a row of bats lined up on the ground and is looking to commemorate the event with signatures from the best in the business.
Naturally, he couldn’t leave the game without getting the signature of Griffey, who was on his way to a 40-home run season and his fifth Gold Glove award. Jordan, then 31 years old, cut through the circle of reporters surrounding the 24-year-old slugger and began moving them out of the way.
“Turn this off, do whatever you gotta do,” Jordan told the reporters. “Let me get my autograph.”
Griffey, on the other hand, stayed completely silent. His face did the talking, however. This is the only look you can have when Jordan asks for your autograph.
It should also be noted that before he walks away, Jordan tells Griffey he’s going to leave him his number.
“I’m gonna leave my number. Call me, man.”
Jordan ends up autographing his Sox jersey and giving it to Griffey, who’s likely still digesting the fact that Michael Jordan asked for his autograph and left him his phone number.
There’s nothing like seeing two of the world’s best athletes gushing in front of their heroes.
Join me on Twitter, where athletes should try demonstrating this kind of respect for one another.