Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Birthday - Michael Jordan Turns 50

Michael Jordan drives to the basket.
Michael Jordan, the NBA's greatest player ever, turns 50 years old today.
There are countless stories being told about MJ and his basketball exploits throughout the 1980's and 1990's when the Chicago Bulls were winning their six NBA championship titles.
Yours truly was there for many of the memories that number 23 gave us on the hardwood at old Chicago Stadium, seated right at center court running the team's sound system and pumping out the loud music during the timeouts during Bulls'  home games (at the Stadium on 1800 West Madison Street in Chicago) from 1987-1994.
The first three-peat title run for the team is something still etched in the memory of many Chicago Bulls fans all over the world.
During the three-peat years (1990-91 season through the 1992-93 season) our sound system became more elaborate and was moved up to the organ loft at the old Chicago Stadium, but nonetheless MJ and company did what we all knew was inevitable... Chicago Bulls WORLD CHAMPIONS!
The stories are many and there isn't time to tell them all here in one post, but being there in person (at the locker room celebration following all the madness of the 1992 title) at old Chicago Stadium is something to cherish and remember.
The champagne was spraying and MJ was bopping around in the hallways of the old Stadium with the Championship trophy in hand and smoking a big victory cigar. That was the only title the team won at Chicago Stadium.
The 1995-96 and 1996-97 season titles were won in the United Center just across the street from where the famed Stadium once stood. MJ had left the game for a year and a half following the murder of his father James in the summer of 1993 before coming back and leading the team to a second three-peat run.
Michael Jordan made an immediate impact as a rookie in 1984.
The first three-peat had more impact on Chicagoans and NBA fans alike as the Bulls continued to confound their foes and win in spite of pressure and media scrutiny of MJ and his gambling exploits away from the court.
The second title run in the late '90's was more scripted for Hollywood with former Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Dennis Rodman joining Michael and Scottie Pippen to form the "Big Three."
Nothing could beat the ambiance of the Chicago Stadium and the noise level was incredible in that building when the team got on a roll and the booming music would sound out during a timeout as the Bulls put away their opponents on a regular basis.
As the team DJ back in the day, Michael and some of the other players would sometimes request to hear a jam as they warmed up during the pre-game shoot arounds and layup lines as the game neared closer to tip off.
The top moment came in June 1992 when the Bulls beat Portland in Game Six of the NBA Finals, 97-93 to wrap up the championship and the team celebrated on the court with the fans for a bit to the "Rock and Roll Part 2" theme song booming out in the Stadium.
How did it go in the commercial?  That is ... priceless.
So as MJ celebrates half a century of life on planet Earth, the memories are still there and always will be.
Happy Birthday Michael.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations a great day not only for himself but for all of us living in this era, is phenomenal