“Sometimes I dream, like he is me… You got to see that’s how I dream to be…I dream I groove, I dream I move…Like Mike. I wanna be like Mike”
I’m sure many of you all remember this jingle from back in the days, and I mean BACK IN THE DAYS when Gatorade primarily came in two colors and was in a glass bottle. Well I’m certain many people who camped out in front of stores and malls very recently just to buy the newly released Jordan’s were singing that tune, or not. How about the fact that his sneakers are ridiculously overpriced and people will camp out in front of stores for them. O_0 Seriously, sleeping outside in blankets and in sleeping bags like you’re on skid row status just to buy sneakers?! And this ‘phenomena’ is happening in cities nationwide.
I don’t agree with camping out on ‘Black Friday’ either, but at least you’re getting goods that are half and sometimes less than half their retail price. As a digression, I’m not digging that name “Black Friday”either but that’s another article for another time. So readers help me understand this: Why would anyone camp outside to buy ‘kicks’? In extreme circumstances people have died because of this. Yes, people have been stabbed, shot, and even trampled on to buy Jordan’s. Are they making you fly (I mean actually fly)? Nope. Can you outrun a cheetah? Nope.
Okay, so I’m obviously being facetious with those questions, but seriously though, I have a question: What has Michael Jordan done for the black community? The same black community that has seen quite a few fatalities going back decades over pairs of MJ sneakers. More importantly, what has Michael Jordan done for the city of Chicago? The same city that poured in millions and millions of dollars to see the Chicago Bulls play, more notably Michael Jordan. The same people in the city that also pumped millions of dollars into his apparel ranging from sneakers to jerseys, to cologne.
I would love to see the actual figures of the gates at the Chicago Stadium and United Center from his rookie year in 1984 to 1998 when he retired. And no disrespect, but people weren’t shelling out top dollar to see Horace Grant, BJ Armstrong, John Paxson and Scott Williams. Sorry to say they weren’t doing the same for Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Toni Kukoc who were more marketable. They did it for Michael Jordan. While I don’t have the figures for the gates during Jordan’s 13 year reign in Chicago over the NBA, I did do some research and here’s some figures to ponder.
1993-94 (The first year of MJ’s ‘retirement’) The Bulls had 759,816 fans come to 41 home games, they ranked 7th in attendance.
1994-95 (MJ came back in March ’95) 926,278 fans showed up for home games they ranked 2nd in attendance
1995-98 they ranked 2nd, 2nd, and 1st respectively the numbers were: 969,149… 978,543…983,517.
Not to say there weren’t any Rodman or Pippen fans out there, but lets call a spade a spade. As the figures show when Jordan retired, although they fielded a very good team, they ranked 7th in attendance. So in other words we know who the main attraction was. This brings me back to the original question at hand. Besides giving to a charity there, and a charity here, what has Mr. Jordan done? Has he put a school, library, Boys and Girls club, anything of positive note for people in Chicago (which I might add ranks in the top 5 virtually every year in crime rate)? I’m not saying he’s obligated to, quite frankly he can do whatever he wants with his millions. But damn brotha, you have these young impressionable children, BLACK children (and even the parents of said children at that) doing the mere unthinkable for a piece of ‘immortality’ on their feet. The least you can do is give back.
Now I’m not going to make him take the blame for all this either. Yes he can afford to send every child in Chicago to top college. Yes he can take a dump and literally wipe himself with twenty dollar bills and not bat an eye; and yes he has worked hard and put in hours and hours of practice and hard work to harness his God given ability. He earned his money he can do what he wants. But what about us – the consumers? Yes we share a piece of the blame pie. The brothers and sisters who conform to this form of mental slavery. The same ones who are willing to go out and spend their hard earned money on overly priced sneakers that probably yielded 1/2 or 1/3 of your weekly earnings.
In addition to that, the sneakers are being released in an economy that is unfavorable for the intended target audience – those of a certain socioeconomic status. Folks are willing to camp outside in virtually any weather in an unintended mockery of those misfortunate souls who actually have no choice but to sleep outside. While doing so, these individuals increase their chances of getting sick, or perhaps endangering themselves just for…..footwear? Hey, my hats off to you. You’re a better person than I.
In the past, NBA stars such as Hakeem Olajuwon collaborated with Spaulding and Etonic to produce basketball sneakers. Stephon Marbury who had his own sneaker line “Starbury” catered to parents who couldn’t afford sneakers that were constantly in the three digit range. Why can’t Mike do this as well? Or is his brand management totally out of his hands? I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that MJ has more money than either of those two aforementioned players combined. Way more.
No sour lemons spewed here but I’ve spoken directly to people from Chicago as well as those who lived in Chicago, and they’ve echoed what I’ve been saying. All he put there was a restaurant bearing his namesake and that became defunct after a few years. Mr Michael Jeffrey Jordan, why not give something back? Host a nightly basketball league to keep kids off the street. Build up apartments for the less fortunate. Donate pairs of sneakers so schools can hold raffles to raise money. See, I just gave you three ideas, so you can thank me later. Drake.
Or if you want to donate a pair of J’s this way, I wear size 11.5. Speaking of giving back, check this out, real stand up guy this man is.
interesting story from Sports Illustrated circa, 1990. Very Good read it’s online.
So readers I ask, should MJ give back to the black community? The City of Chicago? Should he have to answer for all the senseless injuries and deaths caused by the mere hysteria of wearing a pair of J’s? The floor is yours.
peace and have a blessed holiday