The MJ Effect: How His Airness Inspired A Love For The Game

Dave MorrisonSenior Writer IJune 6, 2009

I never saw Michael Jordan play in person. That is the biggest regret of my life.

The best player of all time came to town and put on dazzling, historical performances and I was always just a few miles away, admiring his Airness through a TV…damn it.

Growing up I was obsessed with Jordan, as were most basketball junkies in the 90’s. I mean, the man made chewing gum look cool, and don’t even get me started on the shoes…

Jordan was the ultimate basketball player, athlete, and superstar. I had undying loyalty for him and by association, his team. Otherwise, why would a kid from California root for a team from the Midwest?

He is the reason why I fell in love with the game of basketball. I realize I probably am not saying anything unique or original with that statement because of the global icon status that Jordan possess, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

My first basketball practice my Mom dragged me, kicking and screaming the whole way. In fact, my whole first season was the most embarrassing, tiring, and annoying thing I had done to date.

I was convinced that putting a ball through a hoop was the dumbest activity man had ever conceived.

Then I saw Jordan play for the first time. Wow.

He would get the ball in the post, head and shoulder pump fake, followed by a beautiful fade away baseline jumper. Swish. I was inspired.

I spent countless hours in my street shooting on my neighbor’s hoop, trying desperately to imitate the greatest player on earth. I couldn’t get enough I was hooked.

We all have done the, drive the lane switch hands in the air and kiss off the glass, but most of us traveled…

Every move MJ did, I went out and recreated it 100 times. 200 if I didn’t get called in for dinner.

Just hours of playing ball, shooting impossible shots over and over until I made one, then trying to do it again. All trying to be like Mike, I was a major victim of advertising from an early age.

It was the most amazing transformation. I actually noticed my comfort level with the ball begin to increase. First it was just a cross over then between the legs, then actually around another person during recess at school.

I couldn’t believe how much fun this game was. I still can’t get enough. I am aware of all the Kobe and LeBron hype, and think they are both great players, and I think they are great for the game.

However, they do not have the mass appeal that Jordan had. I am a Kobe fan, mainly because his game closely resembles Jordan’s, and I love to watch LeBron, but would they inspire me to pick up a basketball?

I don’t think they would.

Watching Michael Jordan play in his prime is the most awe-inspiring basketball ever played. Hands down.

Jordan inspired a lot of people to pick up a ball; I am one of those lucky people.


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