Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan Tests Godwin's Law
March 17, 2011

I just saw a Hanes commercial with Michael Jordan -- as I mentioned, I'm feeling a little sick or something and there turns out to be some kind of intercollegiate basketball tournament on television -- and Jordan has a Hitler mustache! Really: I really haven't seen anybody try this since about 1945. I guess I understand why a company would associate itself with a total and complete jerk like Jordan -- he is, after all, an iconic athlete despite being a complete and total jerk. But isn't this the kind of detail that would raise corporate objections?

The World Cup and American Exceptionalism
June 24, 2010

This year’s World Cup demonstrates, as it has in the past, a particular feature of American exceptionalism: the rest of the world cares passionately about soccer and its quadrennial championship. Americans don’t. True, the United States has a team in the tournament that has played well, earning a place in the second round with a dramatic last-minute goal; but unlike in other countries, the names of its leading players are little known outside their own households.

Sunil Gulati: U.S. Are Creative, Gosh Darnit
June 12, 2010

JOHANNESBURG -- The U.S., of course, gets set to kick off its World Cup campaign tonight against England in Rustenburg. But Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, which runs American soccer, was already in town last week, promoting the U.S. bid to host the tournament in either 2018 or 2022. My friend Jonty Mark, a soccer reporter for The Star, a Johannesburg daily, interviewed Gulati, a Columbia University economics professor, in his well-appointed hotel suite, and let me tag along. We asked him about the bid, but also about how far he thinks U.S.

Football and concussions
December 31, 2009

  I’m a big fan of Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins. Unlike her colleague Michael Wilbon, she was willing to expose the utter incompetence of Michael Jordan as a sports executive during the time he ran the Washington Wizards. So I was willing to be convinced when I saw her column this morning defending Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach who was fired for punishing a player for sitting out practice after incurring a concussion. But I have to say that she lost me in the first paragraph.

Today's Words of Wisdom . . .
October 22, 2009

. . . come from Dashiell Bennett who, discussing the Isiah Thomas-Magic Johnson feud, writes: [I]t's pretty clear from this sordid tale—and Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame speech, among other incidents—that pretty much every superstar you idolized as a kid is a selfish, insecure, backstabbing prick. Of course, that's also why they were all such awesome basketball players.

The Supreme Allied Commander of Corn
October 15, 2009

When the world last left Wesley Clark in early 2004, he was a streaking meteor of a presidential candidate. Still fresh from leading NATO in the Kosovo war, he arrived as a savior for the left, who saw a bulletproof patriot that the rest of America could believe in; hero of the netroots, beloved by Michael Moore and Madonna; hope of the Clintonites, delighted by such a clean ideological slate. Alas, after five blazing months, Clark for President flamed out. There are the conventional explanations: He got in too late. He didn't play in Iowa.

Fact-checking Michael Jordan
September 14, 2009

The best part of Michael Jordan's oddly vindictive but revealing induction speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame was his story about Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell: "I was in Chicago in 1994 and at this time I had no thoughts of coming back and playing the game of basketball," Jordan said. "Bryon Russell came over to me and said, 'Why'd you quit? You know I could guard you.’ When I did come back in 1995 and we played Utah in '96, I'm at the center circle and Bryon Russell is standing next to me.

Empty Garden
April 15, 2009

On the basketball courts of New York City, there may be no truer measure of a player's stature than his nickname. If a player is considered good, then his moniker will be something straightforward: "Pee Wee" if he is short; "Lefty" if he shoots with that hand. But if a player is viewed as great, then his talent can actually inspire poetry. He will be called "Half-Man Half-Amazing" for his superhuman dunks or "Skip to My Lou" for the way he hopscotches down the court as he dribbles past hapless opponents.

The Cool Presidency
March 03, 2009

If one were to gather together a dozen of our society's key arbiters of cool—ad execs, movie stars, fashion designers, music critics, pollsters, suburban tweens—and instruct them to generate the profile of a "cool" politician, what are the odds that their efforts would result in a gangly, jug-eared, overeducated, workaholic with a fondness for Scrabble? Not to denigrate our freshly minted president, but, when you tick through some of the basics, Barack Obama comes across as an inveterate dork.

Mister Lucky
February 04, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell's fairy tales.

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