April 10, 2001

My Interview With Michael Jordan

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Boy, the rumors are flying now. And any time they’ve got Jordan in them, you know people are going to pay attention. (I already got you this far, didn’t I?) According to Sports Illustrated’s Marty Burns, Michael Jordan was recently practicing with former-Chicago Bull Bill Wennington. Who wouldn’t be surprised to see Jordan make a comeback. This bit of news leads to a couple of questions.

First, Bill Wennington?

And second, Bill Wennington?

Hell, I could play Bill Wennington, and he’d think I was making a comeback too. Wennington was basketball’s prostitute just there for the ride. There’s only one reason that guy has as many NBA championships as Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird. And I think you know what that reason is.

But the rumors are still flying, and people are getting a kick out of it. Everybody loves Jordan. He’s a 220-lb. Boeing 747. And who doesn’t love 747’s?

To solidify these so-called rumors, I went undercover to get the lowdown on the good word.

One well-placed inside source, a Chapel Hill-resident named Geoff Katz, confirmed the rumors: “I think Jordan is going to comeback, because Dean Smith used to live down the street from me when I was kid. He had a lot of horses,” Katz confided.

Not only has Katz worn black Nike socks, like those of Jordan, but he remains in contact with Boney, Jordan’s high school rival from Wilmington.

Another well-placed source claimed that he often has conversations with His Airness. “I have a Jordan poster of his Slam Dunk contest dunk, and sometimes it talks to me,” the source stated. “He tells me I’m good at basketball and that I’m going to be a star someday.”

The source could not expand on this revelation, but was convinced that Jordan never retired. “He tries and tries to make that dunk, but just can’t do it.”

Jordan seems to have gotten to both the Cornell men’s and women’s basketball teams, as no one would talk.

When pressed for facts, senior forward Sandy Martisauskas wouldn’t budge: “I haven’t even heard about it,” she stated.

“I heard he was going to come back, and then that it wasn’t going to happen,” junior guard Jacques Vigneault said. His sources were not revealed. Junior guard Breean Walas, and Chicago-native Kevin Cuttica also claimed to have no new information.

While the women expressed warm sentiments to his returning, the men seemed more reserved.

“I’d say, go for it,” Martisauskas stated. “It would be pretty impressive. But I can’t say I ever did want to be like Mike.”

“I think it’d be cool,” Walas agreed. “If he thinks he can come back, it would be good for the sport.”

Katz remained ambiguous: “As a fan of basketball, I would be happy. As a fan of MJ, I’d be worried for him. Anything less than another championship would put a damper on his legacy not to me, but to the younger generations of nihilists who didn’t see him play, like I did. [Jordan] will have to compete with younger versions of himself.”

Cuttica and Vigneault agreed.

“I’m not sure he could still dominate,” Vigneault said. “He left when he was on the top. [Coming back] would put a mark on everything he’s done. His image was perfect.”

“For the sake of his reputation he should stay away,” Cuttica said. “I like how I remember him. He was the best player in the world. I’d be nervous that he couldn’t do it, that it would tarnish his image.”

But Cuttica, like the women, did think Jordan could successfully make the transition from full-time father to part-time Superman.

“He wouldn’t be at the same level, but even at a lower level, he could still dominate,” he assured.

After a great deal of trouble, I was finally able to secure a personal interview with Michael Jordan himself, to get answers to the most pressing questions. Here’s are a few snippets of the conversation:

SS: Are you afraid coming back may ruin your legacy?

M.J.: I wouldn’t really call it a legacy. I mean everybody has done things that they are proud of. If I were to come back, which I am seriously considering, it would only be so that I can learn more and further my achievements.

SS: Can you still jump?

MJ: Can I still jump? It’s like riding a bike – once you learn, you never forget.

SS: Does Bill Wennington have game?


SS: What’s your take on the league’s obsession with finding the next MJ?

MJ: Money.

SS: Do you think Kobe Bryant sounds at all like you?

MJ: No, I don’t think Kobe is like me at all. Kobe and I have a lot of different interests and motivations. I am a lot more academically focused than Kobe is, and I realize that there is more to life than just basketball.

SS: Do you have any advice for Kobe?

MJ: I would tell Kobe to keep up on that reading that Phil gives the team; and then go back to college and get a degree as soon as he can.

SS: If you could play on any NBA team right now, which would it be?

MJ: How about if I just played college ball? I mean, I’d love to win a national championship for Cornell.

SS: Ha, so, are you going to play professional basketball again?

MJ: Will you interview me again if I do?

When asked to clarify, Jordan flashed his ever-familiar smile and walked away.

Look for him around campus. He’ll be graduating in May, with a B.S. in electrical engineering.

Archived article by Sumeet Sarin