Cruising down memory lane, it’s hard to pick just one favorite MJ moment. You got the six threes on Portland, the 55 on the Knicks, the ‘shot on Ehlo’…I could go on forever. But for me, my favorite Jordan moment was seeing him play in the flesh when he came to Salt Lake City to play the Jazz in ’95. We’re not talking about upper bowl or 15 rows up. We’re talking front row beside the Bulls bench!
It was one of the first games of the 1995-’96 season and I was a freshman in high school. This was MJ’s first full season back from his retirement and was also the year the Bulls won 72 games. I went to the game with my boy Andy Shepard, whose parents hooked us all up with the VIP treatment at the Delta Center. I remember just being awestruck by Jordan warming up. He practiced his fade-away turn around at least a dozen times. And even though he was maybe 33 years old at the time was throwing down some nasty dunks in the lay up line. I also recall Randy Brown bringing the heat as well.
When warmups were over, I remember the team taking off their red warmups to reveal those clean black unis. Jordan was also wearing those legendary white and black Jordan 11s. As expected, MJ torched us for probably 35. My favorite memory was him stealing the ball in the fourth quarter and cruising in for a fast break, double-pump stuff on the basket on the opposite end from me.
Since I was right beside the tunnel where the team entered and exited the court, I couldn’t wait for Jordan to walk past me so I could say ‘great game Mike’ and give him five. He ignored my previous attempts to get a high five before the game and during half-time. After the game, he ignored me once again, but made a b-line towards a lady who was holding a poster of her son posing with MJ. Apparently her sick son met him through the Make A Wish Foundation a while back and had since passed. He went over to the tearful mom, hugged her and chatted with her for a few minutes. Even though he didn’t acknowledge my stalker antics all game, he was all forgiven after that touching moment. Although I did get high fives from Jud Buechler and Dickey Simpkins so it was all good.