Evidenced by the fact I once purposely got myself sick before a basketball game in hopes of spawning my own “flu game” memory, calling me a Michael Jordan fanatic – the basketball player, not the fashion icon – would be appropriate. Yet, even at 26 years old and Mike’s playing days far behind him, learning new intricacies about Michael Jeffrey is always an eye-opener. Like finding out Mike was once a talk show personality. No, really. Like Oprah, a talk show personality.
In 1989, a then still-attempting-to-get-past-the-Pistons Jordan had what I’m assuming to be a short-lived program on Chicago’s WLS Channel Seven entiteld Michael Jordan’s Airwaves with co-host Jim Rose, who’s actually the most uncomfortable person in the clip because of his, well, corniness. To add some sense of perspective, the fall of ’89 was Phil Jackson’s first as Bulls head coach, Magic Johnson was the reigning MVP (an honor he’d duplicate in the ’89-’90 season) and this M.J. was the league’s leading scorer (an honor he’d, too, duplicate in the ’89-’90 season). Topics on the show range from Jordan’s golf club opinions, his durability, how highly he thought of Scottie Pippen, his shoes and more.
Following a question from the audience, a revealing moment is touched upon in regards to Mike’s acting aspirations. Long before Space Jam came into play, Jordan was originally slated to appear in the street ball flick, Heaven Is A Playground. Due to scheduling conflicts, he never appeared in the film (although he vowed to here) and the role eventually went to Bo Kimble. As expected, the movie made very little impact sales wise and prompted the filmmakers to levy a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Michael for $16M in 1998. Heaven’s legal team even went as far to say Jordan’s failed appearance in the movie led to the handicap of director Randall Fried’s career, whom they referred to as “the next Steven Speilberg” had Playground took off.
Mike’s career pre-championship is damn near more captivating than everything post-June 1991 off the strength many occasionally forget he was once considered everything but a “champion.” The keywords being “damn near.” In any respect, take 20 minutes out of your day to either relive or educate yourself when the NBA’s reigning scoring assassin tested the talk-show waters for a brief moment in time. Who knows, maybe His Airness laid the groundwork for another Chicagoian (by way of London) who’d soon become king of the talk show universe in the late ’90s – Jerry Springer.
Bonus: Since we’re on the topic of frequently forgotten off-court business moves for Mike, how about remembering His Airness’ dance moves in his first music video?