As any good psychotherapist would do, he has me go back to the root of my problem. So, here I am once again, reliving the horrific final moments of game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals…Michael Jordan is still hovering high above the Delta Center floor.
He’s above a bruised and broken Bryon Russell; above everyone else on the court. The ball has just left Jordan’s hand and is in mid-arc right below the shot-clock, where 6.6 is forever emblazoned; 6.6, a new number of the beast. 6.6 could have represented how many fouls he got away with!
The sheer look of horror fills every face in the crowd for they all know what happens next. After the ball settles through the bottom of the net, Jordan stands there admiring it, his right arm still extended, The Shot is embedded forever in my memory playing like a YouTube video on constant replay. Years of intense therapy and several 12-step programs later, he is still there, standing there, arm extended, like a silent sentinel. The image is as real as Karl’s and John’s bronze statues. The image, like a total eclipse is blocking out two Jazz championship seasons. 6.6 seconds has now become 9 years! Time heals all wounds, except this one.
So what did our hero and The Greatest Player of all time do after winning his sixth and final championship? Disneyland or Disneyworld? No, apparently, the first order of business was a long-overdue sleep-over with Kevin Bacon for some real serious underpants talk. Just hangin’ out, talking pros and cons of comfort fit waistbands and 100% cotton briefs. Here is how this brilliant commercial went down: Sleazy Hollywood Agent: “Okay MJ, here is the dealio. We got you and Bob Saget alone, big house, discussing boxer briefs. 3 million bucks! What do you say?” Jordan: “Are you serious? I am MICHAEL JORDAN! I am no SELLOUT! Don’t insult me!!’ Sleazy Hollywood Agent: “Okay, how about the Footloose kid and 3.5 million?” Jordan: “Deal!”
Now Jordan, who must be represented by Britney Spear’s agent, is in a new Hanes commercial with Cuba Gooding Jr. In this one, Jordan is shown giving Cuba a decorative basket full of assorted underpants! Maybe, I have unknowingly been rude to my male friends and co-workers but I honestly did not know that this was a common practice! If a friend gave me a multi-colored tri-pack of men’s bikini briefs in a decorative basket, I would accept them, be grateful but more than a little creeped out.
So, it turns out that Superman traded in his tights to peddle underwear to the highest bidder, and that is something easier to deal with. The more underwear Jordan dispenses, the less relevant he becomes. I begin to see that he can’t hurt us anymore, Tim Duncan might, but Captain Underpants cannot and will not. They say that ‘those who forget history are doomed to repeat it’, so lets take one last long look at The Shot and then lets bury it where it belongs, like a cat does, in her litter box. As for that haunting image of a defiant Jordan, still standing with arm extended, I now see it in a different light. Instead of the silent sentinel, I now see him more like the Black Knight from Monty Pythons Holy Grail, where I am King Arthur, lopping off all of his limbs and leaving just a bloody torso squirming on the ground. With Boozer and Williams watching my back, I ride off into the sunset to the sound of clacking coconuts.