, Research Paper
What is Basketball without Michael Jordan
When someone says the name Michael Jordan, the first thing that might come to mind is basketball, Nike shoes, or Wheaties. Through the years Michael Jordan has proved time and time again that he is the greatest basketball player ever and by doing that he has gained tremendous popularity throughout the world. People of all ages and from all nationalities have gathered to watch him play. Even your Aunt Matilda, who might not know anything about basketball, liked watching him play, said Daniel. He has become more than just an entertainer, he is a hero and a role model. It has been said He s the most famous American in the World (Daniel.)
After winning his sixth National Basketball Association Championship, Michael Jordan has decided to walk away from the world of basketball for the second time in his life. Why would the greatest player to ever play the game leave at the highest point of his career? He claims the sport is no longer a challenge to him. After his many awards, trophies and titles this is not hard to comprehend. At this time in his life, Jordan wants to devote all of his time to his friends and family. Now that he has left the world of basketball a great void has been left. Many questions have rose as to what is going to happen now that he s gone. What will happen with the NBA? What will happen to the Chicago Bulls dynasty? Who will be the next Michael Jordan? Could there ever be another Michael Jordan?
The first thing any sane person would ask is how could Jordan leave basketball and walk away from all of that money? Last year he was the highest paid basketball player in NBA history. But in dollar terms, Jordan was even more successful as a corporate spokesman, which earned him $45 million in 1998, than he was on the basketball court in which he earned $35 million. (Peyser.) Jordan currently does endorsements for thirteen companies. Out of all the companies, Nike pays the most for his endorsements at $16 million per year.
Jordan is by far the best endorser out there in the market. Many of the celebrities can t compare to Jordan. He s handsome, articulate, classy. He had purity to his performance on court and off. It s hard to find the perfect celebrity these days, said Peyser. With such slogans as Be Like Mike and It s gotta be the shoes, companies have attempted to make consumers believe that if they buy their products they too can be as great as Michael Jordan.
Now that Jordan has left the NBA, many are speculating on how well his endorsements will do. Experts say that a retired athlete even Jordan can t compete with a guy who s still winning championships. With the sports-marketing business already in a slump, there may be no heirs to Air Jordan (Peyser.) Even though Jordan has left the basketball court, he s not going to leave Hollywood anytime soon. There are plans being made to have Jordan star in at least two films but this time he will be acting with a real cast as apposed to the cartoon cast he starred with in Space Jam. He should play a character like James Bond, suggests movie critic Gene Siskel, a rabid Bulls fan. I d pay to see him before Pierce Brosnan any day, wouldn t you?
Michael Jordan has made a huge impact on the NBA. He has won six NBA championships in the last eight years, ten scoring titles, enough Most Valuable Player awards to stock his own wing at the Hall of Fame, said Tresniowski. He is by far the greatest player to ever play the game. Many believe the NBA would not be where it is without him and now that he s gone many can t imagine basketball without him. Everyone is wondering, if there ever be another Michael Jordan. The chance of someone accomplishing the same great feats as Jordan is nearly impossible in today s NBA. But that doesn t mean it won t happen. When Julius Erving left the league many people were asking the same questions. Will there ever be another Dr. J.? Jordan came along, and the rest is history.
Ever since the baseball strike the NBA has tremendously gained in popularity, at one time many Americans where questioning, should basketball be the nation s new past time? Lately, this attitude towards baseball has changed. Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa have brought the life back to baseball with the breaking of the home run record. With the NBA labor lockout that has canceled most of this season and now that Jordan has left the future of the NBA is yet to be determined. The outlook doesn t look good. With fear of a season cancellation due to bickering over money, many fans have turned away from NBA basketball in disgust. The NBA s image has become tarnished.
Today s NBA is nothing like how it was when Jordan came into the league. There is a new breed of players out there. Instead of the rising stars attending college, they are making the jump from high school straight to the NBA. Kobe Bryant is a prime example of this. The major difference between the stars of today and the superstars of yesterday is that many of today s stars don t even earn the right to be called stars. Glenn Robinson, now of the Milwaukee Bucks, was asking for a $100 million contract when he came out of Purdue, yet today he is barely worth $1 million. You don t ever want to say never , Starr says, but I don t think the NBA will ever again attain the glory it did with Michael.
Even though Jordan was great, we cannot forget about his supporting cast. Without the team to back him up, Jordan would not have been able to accomplish half of what he has done. The Chicago Bulls have been labeled the Team of the 90 s. No other team since the Boston Celtics has been able to win more than three championships in a row, but the Bulls have done it twice in the past eight years. They probably could have been champions for at least two more years if the team would have stayed healthy and intact.
By far, the Chicago Bulls have been hit the hardest with Jordan s Retirement. The cause of the breakup of possibly the greatest team ever was rumored to be caused by clashes between the players and Bulls management. The breakup started when management wouldn t pay Phil Jackson what he deserved after bringing six NBA championships to the Bulls. Rather than coach another team, Jackson decided to retire to practice Zen Buddhism fulltime. When Jackson left, Jordan said he wouldn t play for a new coach. After Jordan left, basketball great, Scottie Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets. Only four players of last year s team still remain on the Chicago Bulls roster for this season. Many have made the prediction that the Bulls will lose more games in this shortened season than they did all last year (Stein.)
Rebuilding the Chicago Bulls may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes ever made by the Bulls organization. There will no longer be sell-out crowds every night, sales from Chicago Bulls merchandise will take a nose dive, and all the Fair Weather Fans will move on to another team. It could take years and millions of dollars before the Bulls will even be able to compete for another title.
Many wonder if Jordan will come back to the NBA, after all he did come back before. In 1993, after winning his first three championships, Jordan announced his retirement. He felt he had nothing left to prove and he wanted to try his luck in major league baseball. When his short-lived career in the minor leagues didn t work out he decided to return to the NBA, (Greene.)
While, competition is what Jordan thrives on. It has had both a positive and a negative effect on his life. Jordan being the very competitive person that he is, got in trouble when he was rumored to have a gambling addiction. Many feared that he might have been gambling on NBA games. However, all allegations of illegally betting on NBA games were false and with time Jordan s image was rebuilt, (Greene.)
The chances of Jordan coming back to the NBA are very good. However, if he comes back it won t be as a player, his new role would be coach. This time he doesn t have a team to come back to. He is certainly not going to come back to the Bulls and wait for them to rebuild.
Jordan will probably always be remembered as the greatest. It will be a long time before anyone can accomplish half of what he has done. As far as the current NBA cast, the experts can t see anyone replacing him for a long time. Not only does it take the skills but it also requires a certain set of values to become a role model. Many stars of the NBA lack both of these qualities. But somewhere out there is a young child with dreams of becoming the next Michael Jordan. He is on every playground all around the world. He has the endless desire to make something out of himself. Basketball could be his only chance out of the current situation that he is in, and it is only a matter of time before he will have his big break, (Starr.)
Some might think it s hard to imagine the effects that one man can have on the game of basketball, but when you look at our society and how much we tend to focus on athletes in the sports world it s really not that hard at all. Michael Jordan played more than the role of a basketball player. He was a hero, a product endorser, and a corner stone in a major corporation, and to the teams that he beat night after night, an enemy. Now that he is gone from the game no one really knows what will happen all anyone can do is speculate. Even though he has left the basketball court, chances are he won t be leaving your TV quite that soon.
The people that will miss him the most are his former teammates and the die-hard fans that loved to watch him night after night. The Chicago Bulls may never reach the greatness that they once achieved but they will always have the memories. It s hard to tell who will take Jordan s place, it could be safe to say that no one will ever be able to, but that doesn t mean there won t be anyone better than Jordan. Only time will tell.
The die-hard Chicago Bulls fans will always hold a special place in their heart for Michael Jordan. They will tell their sons and daughters about him, they will get out the old VHS tapes of games that they have recorded and they will pass along the Basketball cards that will be worth hundreds of dollars. Those of us who have seen him play will always remember him and what he has done for the game of basketball. For those who haven t, you will have to settle for the endless highlight reels and Nike commercials to keep his memory alive.
Daniel, Jonathan. The One and Only. People Magazine. January 25, 1999:58
Greene, Bob. Rebound: The Odyssey of Michael Jordan. New York: Viking. 1995.
Peyser, Marc, Temma Enrenfeld and Alisha Davis. No Heirs to Air Jordan.
Newsweek. January 1999: 54
Samuels, Allison, MJ s Court Newsweek. January 1999: 46
Starr, Mark. Basketball Looks at Life After 23. Newsweek. January 1999: 56
Stein, Joel. Splitting Bulls: How the NBA Champion Chicago Bulls fell apart within
days of Michael Jordan s retirement Online. 25 January 1999.
Tresniowski, Alex. The One and Only. People Magazine January 1999: 56