In a month of no-news (and I'm in such a malaise about the team's projections this season even I've run out of ways to re-re-re-react to them), there's been a fairly heavy increase in Michael Jordan linking in the fanshots. The nostalgia is always simmering, but with His Airness being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, I've even received some queries as to what I'm doing here for the occasion.
Not much, really.
And not just because the Basketball Hall of Fame is a mess, and Jordan is such a no-brainer addition that it seems he's in already.
But, as weird as it may sound coming from as much of a Bulls fan I am, it doesn't really translate into being a huge Michael Jordan fan. If I was a hardcore follower back when the Dynasty Bulls were getting good (as opposed to being already good) maybe I'd feel different. In fact, that probably has a ton to do with it.
But while it's nice to appreciate Bulls history and see Jordan's enshrinement raising that profile, he's not as much of a concern to me as any other former Bull. Which is to say I don't really care (Ben Gordon notwithstanding, of course!). He's also a former Washington Wizard, and a current pseudo-suit for the Bobcats. He currently has no real role in the Bulls. And though it was nice to see him show up for the Red Kerr tribute last season, it was also a bit weird: as if we were lucky to have him grace us with his presence, instead of an 'of course he'd be there!' feeling, like we would for any other Bulls legend.
And it's not just his post-Bulls days that leave me not really identifying him as a Bull, it's also the fact that Jordan didn't really belong exclusively to Bulls fans, but all sports fans. People became fans of the NBA because of him, some stuck around as Bulls fans (appreciated, all) but many didn't. And I don't feel like I have any more appreciation of Jordan as those other fans, even if my team got to reap all the benefits. He was the greatest of all time, and you don't have to be some kind of Bulls homer to acknowledge that and find comparisons ridiculous. Everyone gets the greatness of Jordan, so being a Bulls fan too doesn't add much.
And though I squirm a bit every time I think of this upcoming Bulls season, I'm far more interested in what's to come than what was past (Ben Gordon notwithstanding, of course!). But maybe that's why there's a rise in Jordan feelings here? This current era has been such a mess that it reminds us that the Bulls were once a model franchise, and should be seen as one of the crown jewels of the league?
While I can see some comfort in remembering those days, I'd prefer to stay dissatisfied about these days. If anything, remembering the Greatest suiting up for your team shouldn't merely be fodder for nostalgia, but fuel to demand we get that feeling back.
(I realize I still have that darned '23' in the blog's logo. Any talented people out there up for tweaking that thing?)