Tag Archives: Michael Jordan

We are lucky to live in the age of LeBron. A really funny JetBlue ad catches New Yorkers by surprise. And the fascinating story of the teen runner who collapses after every race

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My whole life until now, I thought Michael Jordan was the one basketball player I’d be telling my grandchildren about, and have them listen at my knee, wide-eyed, as I recall wat it was really like to see him play.

The way my generation heard stories about Oscar Robertson, or Jerry West. MJ would be the standard, the legend all others are judged against, and I feel lucky that his career happened during my childhood/early adulthood.

But as it turns out, the grandkids will be hearing about someone else, too. About a 6-foot-8, 260 pound kid who went from high school to the NBA, and did things no one had ever done before on a basketball court.

And 12 years into his career, he’s still doing things no one has ever seen. LeBron James is not simply the best player in the world; he has become, in my mind and many other sportswriters I’ve read the last few weeks, equal to Michael Jordan.

Yes, I said it. LeBron is as good as MJ ever was. And there is no way in Hades Jordan gets to the NBA Finals this year with the cast LeBron is playing with.

With his two all-star teammates sidelined, and forced to play with the hoops equivalent of four guys he found hanging out at the YMCA, LeBron willed his team to the NBA Finals, and kept them in a series they had no business being in after Kyrie Irving went down. Golden State was the far superior team, and are a worthy NBA champion, and I’m happy for Steph Curry and his whole squad, and for Warriors fans, who are awesome.

But even after a season-ending loss, I’m thinking about LeBron.

The last two weeks, he has put on one of the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen in sports. One man against five, basically, and the one kept his team in every single game. Jump shots, drives, 3-pointers, assists,

His NBA Finals averages of 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 are extraordinary; words can’t describe how dominant he’s been. He’s played 228 of a possible 250 minutes. And in those 22 minutes he hasn’t been on the floor, Cleveland has been outscored by 22 points — one point per minute.

I could go on and on. But suffice to say, we’re watching a one-of-a-kind athlete in his prime, and, notwithstanding a few months of raging ego when he first went to play for Miami in 2011, a really good guy on and off the court, one who’s easy to root for.

I know Cleveland came up short, and LeBron James couldn’t do it all himself.

But these last two weeks have been an absolute joy to watch. It never gets boring watching pure excellence.

**Next up today, we New Yorkers are pretty immune to surprises on the street. I mean, the wide as the Grand Canyon spectrum of human behavior on display every day right in front of us has kinda innoculated us from truly being shocked, I think.

But this JetBlue experiment sure seemed to shake up people, in a pretty funny way. The airline decided to put a hologram-looking talking computer up in a glass window on 6th Avenue recently, and it asked pedestrians pretty simple questions about their flying preferences.

Then the machine started talking back. And making fun of their wardrobe. Turns out it was a real person inside the whole time…

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**Finally today, this is one of the strangest stories you’ll see. A high school track athlete from Buffalo named Sam Peterman literally collapses after every race she competes in.

Peterman, who’s 15, suffers from something called neurocardiogenic syncope, or NCS, a condition that causes her to faint nearly every time she finishes a race. Her father, Dale Peterman has almost always been there to catch her.

“It’s the hardest thing,” he said of waiting for Sam at the finish line. “Because you never know.”

Despite Peterman’s condition, she’s been cleared to run by doctors. But can you imagine what that’s like, knowing you’re going to pass out after every race, but loving to run anyway? That takes dedication and a love of a sport I’m not sure many people would have.

Fascinating story by Rob Harms in the New York Times.

R.I.P. Dean Smith, a giant on and off the court. Animals frolicking happily in great new commercial. And some thoughts on the Grammys.

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During my years as a sports journalist, I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of athletes, coaches and administrators, as well as many non-sports celebrities.

Most of them were perfectly nice, decent people. A few were Grade-A jerks.

Not one of them ever had the class, grace, and humility of Dean E. Smith, the legendary coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team.

Dean died Saturday night at age 83, after a long decline due to dementia. I’ve written about Dean, a man I admired as much as anyone I’ve ever met, before on this blog, here and here., and there were a ton of fantastic tributes to him published Sunday (I highly recommend Alexander Wolff’s on SI.com, and this great Tommy Tomlinson story from last year.)

Many of those tributes talk about Smith’s incredible coaching acumen, his invention of the Four Corners offense, the trips to the Final Four, and his two national championships.
But what’s so more important about the life he lived was what he did off the court. He fought tirelessly for civil rights in North Carolina, long before he was famous and successful and people had to pay attention to him. He battled and spoke out against the death penalty and segregation; battled for women’s rights, and myriad other causes he believed in.

He had an incredible memory for names and facts, he was a master motivator (he’d tell nervous players in the huddle late in close games, “Hey, a billion people in China don’t care who wins”)

There were so many great Dean anecdotes about who he was, but this one, from the NBA’s Reddit page from an unattributed source, might be my favorite.

Way back in 1958, when Dean Smith was just an assistant coach at UNC, he was angry that restaurants in Chapel Hill were still segregated. He decided to make a statement by walking in to a eatery he knew, sat down with an African-American player, and ate a meal. And a blow for desegregation had been struck.

When it was brought to Dean years later that he should be proud of what he did, this was his response.”

“You should never be proud of doing what’s right,” Smith said. “You should just do what’s right.”

Dean Smith’s death is not a loss for college basketball. It’s a loss for humanity.

Rest in peace.

**Next, this ought to put a smile on your face. The Android company has put out a new ad that has gone viral very fast, with more than 4 million hits already. It’s just footage of different animals from the kingdom, frolicking and, well, getting into some interesting situations.

Adorable.

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**Finally, a couple quick thoughts on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, my annual attempt to reconnect to today’s music and extricate myself from my 1980s and early ’90s musical dungeon I happily reside in the rest of the year:

— I’m just asking: When did LL Cool J become to the Grammys what Billy Crystal and Bob Hope were to the Oscars? I mean, is he just the permanent host now?

— Sam Smith and Adele both say “Fank You” and it’s kind of adorable.

— Madonna is 56. And damn, she’s still got it. What an amazing performer she still is.

— I’m not a Katy Perry fan, but her performance, preceded by a domestic violence survivor telling her story, was powerful.

— The Grammys always have some bizarre-looking celebrity outfits, but Jesse J’s dress looked like it was pasted together by a drunk 3rd-grader in art class.

— Kanye West: Could he be a bigger tool? He tried to interrupt Beck like he did Taylor Swift at the VMAs all those years ago. His ego knows no bounds.

– I hate the Bee Gees more than I’ve ever disliked any other musical act, ever. But hey, give ’em a lifetime achievement award, lots of other people liked them.

— A week ago, New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler was a rookie from West Alabama, playing in his first Super Bowl and completely anonymous to 99 percent of the world. Seven days later he’s a Super Bowl champ and on stage presenting a Grammy.
America, what a country,

— Last year’s Grammys, with the incredible Ryan Lewis/Macklemore/Queen Latifah same-sex wedding ceremony at the end, was pretty impossible to top. But I thought Sunday night’s were pretty good.

Why Australians won’t let kids blow out birthday candles. A great documentary short about an NYC hoops legend. And MJ at 50: A terrific read

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I love Australians. I’ve truly never met a person from there who isn’t fun and awesome and super-cool. (Disclosure: I’ve only really known like 4 Australians, so my sample size is small).

Anyway, I love the Aussies. But I’ve finally found a reason to dislike them: Their ridiculous school health officials.

Two weeks ago the No Fun Police decided to ban kids from blowing out birthday candles at school. Why? They said it’s to prevent the spread of germs.

“Children love to blow out their candles while their friends are singing ‘Happy birthday,’” a document released by Aussie officials said. “To prevent the spread of germs when the child blows out the candles, parents should either provide a separate cupcake, with a candle if they wish, for the birthday child and [either] enough cupcakes for all the other children … [or] a large cake that can be cut and shared.”

Are you freaking kidding me? Yes, there may be some germs spread when a kid blows out the candles. There are also germs spread every time a kid wipes his nose and rubs it on his desk (which happens all the time in elementary schools), and when a kid hits another kid, and when two kids are playing together and one gets dirt all over the other one.

There are germs in the world, people, you can’t avoid them! So let a kid blow out some freaking candles, will you please?

Ugh. The sissy-fication of the world continues.

**There may not be a human being alive who’s seen more New  York City high school basketball than Tom Konchalski.
When I used to work for the basketball magazine SLAM and talk to players from NYC, they spoke of Konchalski in reverential terms; just being mentioned in his regular newsletter meant they were on the radar and on track to get a college scholarship.

Konchalski is a scout, one of the most trusted in the nation, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom, he’s suddenly getting a lot of national publicity. He doesn’t own a cell phone, an answering machine, or use email. He is a dinosaur and yet still is highly trusted and deemed important by every college basketball coach in the country.

ESPN’s Grantland site, which I love, did a four-minute mini-documentary on Konchalski, and it’s terrific. Watch it above, and appreciate one man’s single-minded dedication that has helped thousands of kids attain college scholarships.

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**Finally, there was a ton of publicity last week about Michael Jordan turning 50 years old. Because it’s mid-February and ESPN and others are desperate to fill the supposed void in the calendar (hey folks, ever hear of college hoops and NHL hockey? Talk about them!), the Greatest of All Time’s 50th was a huge event.

I avoided just about all of the Jordan love-fest, but I kept hearing how great ESPN writer extraordinaire Wright Thompson’s profile of MJ was. Turns out it was even better. Thompson got some terrific access to Jordan, and I came away thinking that A, he’s still as competitive as ever, and B, he might be able to score 20 a game right now, just because he would will himself to score.

Read Thompson’s story here; it’s well worth the time.

The original basketball “Dream Team,” in their own words. The joy of buying a parking space in New York. And The Daily Show mocks Fla. governor.

A tip of the cap today to the late Henry Hill, who died Tuesday night. Hill was the basis for Ray Liotta’s character in “Goodfellas,” which is the best mob movie ever made (and yes, I’ve seen “The Godfather.” It’s a fantastic movie. “Goodfellas” is better. Here’s hoping wherever Hill eats his next meal in the afterlife, the chef doesn’t use too many onions. 

I did something I never thought I’d do on Wednesday. But I guess it officially makes me a real New York City resident.

I bought a parking space. Yep, in a couple of weeks it’ll all be mine: a wonderful 12 feet by 20 feet piece of concrete, with one line on each side letting the whole freaking world know that THIS space belongs to me.
It’s always sounded crazy to me, buying a parking space. It seemed so silly; purchasing a hunk of ground when my whole life I’ve always found free spots.

But you know, I’m moving to Manhattan, I’ve got a car, and, well, it’s next to impossible to regularly find a legal parking space near my new apartment-building home.
And so I talked to a guy, got a great Groupon deal on a monthly rental, and here we are. (Hey, at least I didn’t have to pay what this guy is asking for a spot.)

So I now own a space. I feel like such a grown-up. I think I’ll just drive around and park in it for hours on my first day. Or maybe I’ll run outside on the street and yell at those  poor schlubs trying to find a legal spot “Hey buddy, can’t find a spot? Sucks for you, I got one right here!”

Nah.

**So there’s been a whole ton of hype lately about the 20th anniversary of the greatest basketball team ever assembled, the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team.
It was the first time NBA players were allowed to play in the Olympics, and there’ll never be a better collection of hoops talent: Magic. Bird. Michael. Charles Barkley. Patrick Ewing. Karl Malone. And so on.
Their games were a joke, so lopsided were they. Their opponents were in awe, and the basketball they played was so beautiful.

The NBA TV channel did a fabulous documentary on the team last night (it re-airs  Friday at 10:30 p.m., and a bunch more times after that), the gifted SI writer Jack McCallum has written a book about the squad, and my old colleague at SLAM magazine, Lang Whitaker, has penned this terrific oral history of the squad. There are some fantastic stories in here, about the day a team of college players whupped the Dream Team, about the egos that clashed at the beginning, and other good stuff.
Definitely a great read about a team that was truly the greatest ever.

**Finally today, I ranted a few weeks ago about the awful governor of Florida, Rick Scott, and his attempts to purge voters from the rolls in the state. Fortunately, we have The Daily Show and John Oliver on the case. Enjoy the hilarity here.

Celebrating two extraordinary lives that ended Thursday, Gary Carter and Anthony Shadid. And some awesome winter photos

I was going to continue with Good News Friday like usual today, but the tragic deaths of two wonderful human beings Thursday forced me to shelve that idea. Each of them deserves to be thought about and appreciated today.

The first death that saddened me was that of Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher for the Mets and Expos. Carter was 57, and had been suffering from a brain tumor.
There’s no way to picture Gary Carter without thinking of his smile. It was enormous, room-filling, and so genuine. There might not have been a baseball player alive who enjoyed the game and showed it more than “The Kid.” He was the cornerstone of the 1986 Mets, and a catcher who played the game with verve, passion and a whole lot of skill for his whole career.

He was mocked, in the media and by his peers, for his “good-guy” persona, and he seemed too good to be true (he even wanted to take his wife on road trips, which in baseball circles is kinda like worshipping the devil).

But Carter was the genuine article, a decent man who enjoyed life and played the game the right way. He will be immensely missed. Two fabulous tributes to Carter I read Thursday night were this from SI’s superb Tom Verducci and this story from my buddy Pearlman in the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s video of Carter’s last hit in the major leagues, from September, 1992 with the Expos. The outpouring of love can be felt through the screen…

The second death I mourned Thursday night is a man who was legendary in my former profession as a journalist. To say Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent is like calling Einstein an inventor, or Michael Jordan an athlete. For three newspapers over 15 years, most recently the New York Times, Shadid saw the horrors of war up close, reported on them, and then wrote some of the most beautiful prose you can imagine.
So many people in journalism are great reporters. Others are great writers. It’s very, very rare for someone to be both. Shadid went into the worst places in the world and survived, putting names, faces and humanity into the stories of Iraqis, Afghans, and recently, Libyans. Only 43 years old, it is cruelly ironic that after surviving battlefields forever, he died of an asthma attack.

His friend Tyler Hicks, a world-class photographer and with whom Shadid had been kidnapped with last year, carried his body from Syria to safety in Turkey.

Shadid was a giant in the field, and his loss is a great one. Here is a story he wrote to win one of this two Pulitzer Prizes, here is his obituary from the N.Y. Times, and here is a link to some of his other “greatest hits.”

Gary Carter and Anthony Shadid. Two very different men, but both leave an immeasurable hole in the hearts of many.

**And now, a few happy thoughts. I’m on vacation for a week starting today, as the junior high I’m working at closes for mid-winter break (thank you, Presidents Lincoln and Washington for this holiday! The exhausted teachers of America salute you!).

College basketball is getting insanely exciting as it usually does in mid-February; Michigan State got a big win Thursday, my Duke boys pulled another David Copperfield act (seriously, this is the most bizarre Duke team of my lifetime as a fan), and Florida State pulled off another miracle, too. Can’t wait for March Madness.

And here’s a lovely gallery of people skating through the winter. These pictures hopefully will bring a smile to your face, as they did mine. They’re courtesy of Boston.com’s The Big Picture, a site I love and tout frequently on here.

Good news Friday: A riveting piece on Michael Jordan’s h.s. coach. Around the World in 5 minutes: A thing of beauty. And a groom goes all-out on the wedding dance

What’s the biggest myth in the history of sports? Not Babe Ruth’s “called shot” home run. Not that college sports are really “amateur athletics.”

It’s that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in history, was once cut from his high school team in Wilmington, N.C.
That story has been told thousands of times on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and by Jordan himself. About how he was cut in 10th grade, and worked hard to improve, but he never forgot the pain of being cut and that’s what drove him, yada yada yada.
Except that story is 100 percent, patently false. Always has been. When I got my first newspaper job out of college, as a sportswriter for the Wilmington Star-News, I learned within 10 minutes that the Jordan story was bogus. MJ was never supposed to be on varsity in 10th grade; the coach told him he’d be assigned to JV. There was no cutting, no crying, no nothing.

That Jordan has continued to perpetuate this myth is fascinating to me; the media, of course, lapped it up, because it’s the ultimate “Hey, if Michael Jordan can get cut, anyone can!” story. It makes His Airness out to be an underdog, and who doesn’t love that?

Of course, while everyone else bought into the myth, there’s one man who could’ve cleared this whole thing up in three seconds: Jordan’s high school coach. But Clifton “Pop” Herring  has been incredibly hard to find over the past 25 years (I know, I looked for him a bit while I was in Wilmington), due to some bad luck and some serious mental illness issues.

But the supremely-talented writer Thomas Lake found him, and wrote this extraordinarily good story about Herring and the myth of MJ in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

It’s Friday, go ahead you have time to read it. While it could be a tragic story, I actually end up feeling good at the end of it. I hope you will too.

**This was extremely cool. A guy spent a year visiting 17 countries and taking 6,237 photographs, then combined it all into a five-minute time-lapse video that shows you the world.

Enjoy the grandeur…

**Finally, this is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

I don’t endorse the use of Justin Bieber music, but this was pretty damn awesome. A groom and his groomsmen go all out to perform a dance for the bride on her wedding day. I think my favorite part is at 2:33, but it’s all pretty hilarious.

And while we’re here, because this is so much fun to watch over and over again…

The year Jordan played baseball. And a batshit-crazy pastor in Florida

Looking back on it, sports historians are likely to be puzzled.
Wait a minute. You’re telling me that in 1994, the greatest basketball player in the world, the greatest basketball player ever, quit at the height of his ability, to play minor-league baseball in Alabama?

Yep. It doesn’t make any more sense the more you think about it. But 16 years ago Michael Jordan, fresh off his third straight NBA title with the Chicago Bulls, and with his father’s murder fresh in his mind, decided he wanted to be a baseball player.

It didn’t go all that well. The skills don’t exactly translate; Jordan played in Double-A in Birmingham, and hit. 202.
And then, after one mostly failed year, Jordan came back to the NBA and was his old self again. It was a weird, weird story, though I remember I admired Jordan at the time for having the guts to try something at which he might fail.
Jordan’s year in the minors is chronicled in the new ESPN 30 for 30 movie, “Jordan Rides the Bus.” It was directed by legendary sports movie writer/producer Ron Shelton (“White Men Can’t Jump,” “Bull Durham,” etc.), and I had extremely high hopes for it.

And it was … pretty good. There are great interviews with Jordan’s old teammates, a pretty funny scene with his Birmingham real estate agent, and lots of footage of Jordan swinging and missing.
Shelton didn’t get an interview with Jordan for the documentary, but if nothing else he did debunk the long-held conspiracy theory that Jordan was forced to retire by NBA commissioner David Stern, due to Jordan’s serious gambling problem.
What I took out of the movie was how a place like Birmingham can be totally transformed by the spectacle of having Michael Jordan hanging out there for a summer. Everyone in town went nuts, like every other city in America would’ve.

Shelton did a good job with the movie, but I think it could’ve been a little better. He’s set the bar so high with his movies, it’s hard to reach it every time.

**Yep, nothing like a good ole’ crazy pastor to get my blood boiling.
Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center (sounds like a harmless name, right?) in Gainesville, Fla. has decided to help the world get along.

He and his church recently announced that on 9/11 this year they’ll be holding a “Burn the Koran” day, to, and I quote “bring to awareness to the dangers of Islam and that the Koran is leading people to hell,” adding that, “eternal fire is the only destination the Koran can lead people to so we want to put the Koran in its place – the fire!”

What a disgrace for a human being Jones is. Here he is on Chris Matthews’ show the other day:

The violently unhappy Wendy’s customer who owns a Taser. And Cleveland really, really wants to keep LeBron

Sometimes, my dear readers, I have to look far and wide, to the four corners of this here Internet, and the four corners of the globe, to find a fascinating, humorous, or otherwise interesting story to share with you.

Other times, I am blessed. I live in Florida, and crazy stuff seems to happen here all the time.

Tonight, I only had to look at the website of my own newspaper, the Daytona Beach News-Journal. There I learned about Melanese Asia Reid, 20, and her friend Katrina Mari-Alyce Bryant, 23. The two ladies were at a Daytona Beach Wendy’s drive-thru Monday morning, and apparently they weren’t happy with the way their order was given to them.

So Reid and Bryant got out of their car, and ran into the restaurant wielding a Taser.

Let me repeat that. Wielding a Taser.

What did the guy do, forget to throw in a few extra ketchups? Leave the mayo off the burger?

They began chasing the poor employee around and trying to stun him with the Taser, but to no avail. They eventually fled, but were caught when (and I love this part) they later called the manager of the Wendy’s to complain, and shared where they were calling from when asked.

Oh man, so many jokes, so little time. When they say fast food can kill you, they’re not kidding.

Or how about this for a new slogan: “Wendy’s. Our food is so good, you’ll be shocked!”

OK, I’m done now. Check out the story here.

**LeBron James has been getting all kinds of criticism since the Cavaliers blew that series to the Celtics a few days ago. I think much of it is unwarranted; not to get off on a rant here (hat tip, Dennis Miller), but a lot of the same criticisms of LeBron were made of some guy named Jordan when he played for the Bulls in the late 1980s: Great individual talent, not a true leader, never going to win a championship, yada yada yada.

Anyway, so many are criticizing, and yet the people of Cleveland, New York and Chicago are begging for King James to play for them.

Gotta hand it to these Cleveland folks for this brilliant idea: A remake of “We Are the World” with LeBron thrown in. Hilarious:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A really creative marriage proposal. An MJ sighting. And why you should watch hockey now.

So I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, which is why I love creative, different marriage proposals that fellas do.

This one in particular made me smile. Tim Gregory, the head softball coach at Glen Este H.S. in Ohio, was madly in love with rival Milford H.S. coach Christy Foster.

The two dated for two years, and Tim was thinking it was time. When the teams played on April 7, Gregory and Foster came out for the traditional pre-game meeting with the umpires.

Then Gregory pulled out a ring, and right by home plate he asked Foster to marry him.

She said yes. But then Gregory’s team went out and won the game, 1-0.

She’ll be paying him back for that one for the rest of their lives.

***Even sportswriters who’ve seen lots of superstars over the years get a little excited seeing certain guys. They’re beyond the normal athletes, you know, the ones in the stratosphere.

So I got a little thrill when, while covering the Orlando Magic-Charlotte Bobcats Game 1 Sunday night, I walked out of the media room before the game and looked up to see Michael Jordan.

Wearing a beautiful chocolate brown suit that probably cost more than my car, he was there because he’s now the majority owner of the Bobcats.

I’d had one other MJ encounter before; a few years ago at an NBA pre-draft camp he was sitting in my row and I had to climb over his legs to get out of the row.

I know he’s just a guy, but still, Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan.

**Finally, I know I’m preaching to a deaf choir when I talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs in hockey. (Give it a try in HD. It’s amazing the difference). But the first few days of the playoffs have been outstanding. Really, really great.

High scoring games, dramatic overtime winners, upsets brewing .. Just fabulous.

Here’s my hockey blog that I update every day or two for the News-Journal.

And then this happened last night, in overtime. San Jose’s Dan Boyle shot it into his own net to cost his team the game. What an excruciating play; the Sharks absolutely dominated this game, outshooting Colorado 50-16!

The best replay starts at about 1:01:

LeBron makes a rare bad move, and the craziest guy I’ve ever seen on TV

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So I’d say LeBron James is probably my favorite current NBA player. Ever since I first heard of this incredible talent, when I worked at SLAM magazine and my colleague Ryan Jones said to me one day, “There’s some kid in Akron, Ohio named LeBron James who’s a sophomore and who everybody is going nuts about,” I’ve followed the kid fairly closely.

I think so far, he’s done a very admirable job handling the spotlight. In the few times I’ve interviewed him, I found him to be intelligent, thoughtful, and pretty funny. We once had a brief discussion of Malcolm Gladwell while some other sportswriters in the gaggle looked on quizzically.

Anyway, LeBron makes very few public missteps. But I think he made one this week, when he suggested not only that he would give up No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan, but that everyone in the NBA should stop wearing it as well, thereby retiring that number.

I don’t know, exactly, why James said this. Part of me thinks it’s some sort of reverential “getting in good” with the man he hopes to replace as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time). Part of me thinks Nike pushed him into it, as an homage to Jordan getting in the Hall of Fame this year, and to sell more LeBron jerseys with a different number on it (Remember, MJ wore No. 45 when he came out of retirement the first time).

Part of me thinks LeBron just thinks he’s that powerful, that he can, like, make other people honor Jordan as much as he has.

I don’t know, it just seems a little strange to me. LeBron might want to rethink this one. After all, isn’t the greatest way to honor MJ to become the second-greatest player ever to wear that number?

It’s just weird.

**So you see a lot of crazy people on television. But this guy fascinated me to no end. On this month’s HBO Real Sports, which I shamefully only got around to watching on Saturday, there was a story about Ashrita Furman, a New York man who owns about 92 Guinness Book of World Records titles. He does stuff like juggle under water with sharks swimming around him, and pogo stick in the Amazon River.

You would think he’s a total nutjob, but believe it or not, after watching the piece (and I highly recommend checking it out on HBO or HBO on Demand if you can), I actually like the guy. This is how he keeps himself sane, and this is what makes him happy, and if he’s not hurting anyone else, what’s so bad about what he does?

Anyway, here’s one typical Ashrita Furman attempt (if there can be such a thing):