The Michael Jordan Shadow is more epic than anyone’s existence.
Michael Jordan officially retired back in 1998. The Washington Wizards comeback does not count because there was a ghost in the shell controlling his aging body during the time. With the nth epic battle between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals and the mega 2010 Free Agent class signings shortly thereafter, one has to wonder how the MJ shadow became grand and legendary. It’s just frightening how massive this shadow has grown in the shape of a Jump Man.
This is truly immortality – bigger than anything you’ve seen in Twilight. The shadow is bigger than Darko and Kwame’s ass prints on the bench. A mere humble mortal chasing an idea would think that winning one title in New York is unprecedented, but this goes beyond that. Of course, winning a title anywhere is a huge accomplishment. Winning just one anywhere is already cemented in history yet true immortality goes beyond history. What do I mean? Michael Jordan and this idea of a shadow are showing us that ultimate immortality not only stays in the past, but also the present and future. He became The Golden Standard in our feeble minds because he accomplished things that we still can’t fathom one person doing.
The Black Shadow claimed basketball careers. It started with Harold Miner. Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill entered. Jerry Stackhouse, Tracy McGrady, and Vince Carter followed shortly. The ones who remained unscathed are Kobe, Wade, and LeBron. This is exactly how lethal this type of immortality is all about. The public opinion holds MJ on a pedestal years after his last game. This issue came up again with the LeBron free agent bonanza.
Let’s be clear. I truly do not think Kobe or LeBron really gives a shit about MJ’s shadow. Honestly, they should not care. It’s just an idea after all – a figment of the imagination. People forget that Kobe Bryant almost became a Chicago Bull. That’s how much he really cares.
Almost everyone outside of Chicago brings up the Black Shadow each time someone mentions LeBron to Chicago scenarios. Why? Many will argue, “Oh it’s because he has to play under that pressure and can never live up to it.” That reason does not hold much clout anymore. It used to. Not anymore. Why doesn’t the argument hold much water?
One can easily counter that by saying, “Any great player mirroring Michael Jordan in physical stature will always be compared to him regardless of locale or uniform.”
We have to go back into history before Jordan. When Julius Erving was entering the twilight of his career, Michael Jordan came in. He didn’t play for the Philadelphia Sixers, but he had to endure the comparisons to the Doctor regardless. He squashed all that by saying that his name sounds pretty good instead of being the next Doctor J. It didn’t matter where MJ played. He was compared to Julius anyway. This notion of any great player having to live up to Jordan only lives in the annals of message boards.
Jordan never lived up to the Doctor’s shadow. He created his own persona instead. Kobe and Wade did that. LeBron is doing that right now. That’s how they escaped unscathed. Those two are still compared to the Black Shadow, but the arguments died out because basketball fans over the years learned from the stupidity of the argument.
LeBron to Chicago, LeBron to NY, LeBron to anywhere - that doesn’t matter.
No one makes a big deal out of Kobe playing under Magic’s shadow in Los Angeles. What about all the Boston Celtic greats and the future ones coming in? No one says anything about Deron Williams playing under John Stockton’s shadow. Michael Jordan’s immortality is much more terrifying than I imagined. Is Kevin Durant the next one in line?
Which begs the question for this phenomenon: Why do fans and basketball experts (mainly outside of Chicago) make MJ’s shadow so special compared to the others that it gets used as an argument against any great player coming to Chicago such as LeBron James?
Be honest in your answer or The Jump Man will kill you.