Archive for the ‘Michael Jackson’ Category

The King of Pop and the King of Hop

July 1, 2009

As you most definitely know by now, the world lost one of its greatest entertainers this past week in Michael Jackson. Now, I know you are wondering why I’m writing about Michael Jackson on a basketball website, and to that I have answers. Let us not forget that he helped save basketball, or the cameo made by Michael Jordan in his Jam music video. As a child Marvin Gaye used to come over to the Jackson household to play hoops with the boys (video please) and there is a rumored hoops game at Paisley Park between MJ and Prince (VIDEO PLEASE!!). And the King of Pop was even supposed to release a song with Ice Cube called We Be Ballin’ that was going to become the theme song for the NBA but never saw the light of day (probably a good thing).


But the main reason I feel MJ’s passing is related to basketball is because of how he reminds me of the other MJ, Michael Jordan. And it goes deeper than the mentioned Jam video and the fact that when I interviewed Jordan’s son, Jeff, a few years ago he reminisced about a childhood meeting with Jackson. For people growing up in the 1980s (the decade I did most of my growing up in), the MJs were a large part of our childhood. If you came up during this decade, there’s a good chance you have the Thriller album and at one point owned a pair of Air Jordans. Both performers truly transcended their genres and were worldwide phenomenons. Being a fan – or at least respecting their talents – was a bonding thread amongst us.

Both men did more than just entertain us – they inspired us. They showed us things we had never seen before (the moonwalk; the above the rim game taken to a new level). They allowed us to dream. But as much as they inspired, they also brought out the worst in their fellow man, especially in Jackson’s case. The adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” was never ignored more than in the King of Pop’s case. He was roundly viewed as a freak because of the plastic surgery he chose to have done. When a skin condition contributed to the lightening of his complexion the “black or white” jokes rained down. Why is how a person chooses to look so threatening to a society? And – newsflash – artists are SUPPOSED to be eccentric. Eccentricity and flair are necessities for someone to excel in the arts, just like Michael Jordan’s ego and competitive drive were essential for him to dominate on the court. And Jordan was also judged based on appearance – at least in the early years. He was viewed as just a flashy player due to his dunks, the long shorts and his fancy shoes when in reality he was as fundamentally sound as they come and a menace on the defensive end of the court.

We also convicted and sentenced both men without a fair trial. Of course Jackson molested kids – he was a weirdo and have you seen what he’s done to his nose? Of course Jordan’s father was murdered because of his son’s gambling problem and of course Jordan didn’t really retire from basketball the first time – David Stern suspended him for gambling on the game. I guess that is the tabloid world we live in, but you can’t help but wonder if this type of pressure the world put upon Jackson contributed to his untimely demise.

But it is not all sad news. This is a time for us all to reflect and be thankful to be alive during the time that these men plied their crafts. And be thankful that there were serious enough challengers to these men’s thrones (Prince, Madonna, Lionel Ritchie; Barkley, Malone, Magic) to push them to new heights. Be thankful that you were witnesses to works of geniuses.

With that being said, mostly Jackson’s passing is a very sad time. Sad because we lost a great entertainer. Sad because the way we treat celebrities may have helped lead to his death. But mostly sad because with Jackson’s passing we are reminded that we’re not kids anymore.

And, in a related note, this man is still alive:

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R.I.P. G.O.A.T.

June 25, 2009

For my draft preview scroll down. With the sad news of today, I felt it fitting to post this video of one of the greatest performers of all-time helping save the great sport of basketball.