ALLEZ - JV Araneta (The Freeman) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

I didn’t like Michael Jordan very much from 1991-93 and 1996-98. And I believe that he should have been called for an offensive foul against Bryon Russell in, “The Shot”.

For those six years that MJ and the Bulls hogged the limelight, it was a miserable time to be a Laker fan.

I grew up in the 70’s, watching Wilt, Jerry and Gail in our neighbors’ black and white TV, and even though they only won one championship (1972) that decade, I was hooked because the NBA on TV in those days was always the Lakers vs some other team. By the time I had a better understanding of basketball, the Lakers were now a dynasty, winning five championships the next decade. I was a big fan of Magic and I felt that the world was about to end when he announced he had to quit the NBA because he had HIV.

With that background, you can now understand why I didn’t like Michael. It was Michael who beat LA for their first chip. Michael was the antithesis of Magic, a pass-first player while Michael was the shoot-first player. I was happy when Michael retired the second time and ecstatic when Kobe and Shaq started to terrorize the NBA. My conclusion was that you always hated the superstar that succeeded your favorite superstar. It’s no secret that I didn’t like Lebron very much until he signed with LA.

However, this is the irony: I believe I was the first person in college to own an Air Jordan I. I still remember it vividly: it had two laces, black and red, per shoe, and instead of the more common red and white, it was red and black. My Uncle Dodo from Canada gave it to me. I still remember SWU Cobra players salivating at my Jordans when walking from the boarding house to the campus.

So why am I talking about the NBA today when this is supposed to be a cycling column?

Two reasons: this pandemic, and the Last Dance. While I don’t dwell a lot on the NBA the past years, I surf the net when the Lakers are doing well or when they are on the news. Like this year. But I for whatever reason, any news about Michael, it always attract me. Maybe I’m closet Michael fan.

I had told myself that I’m not going to watch the Last Dance. While I have smart TV connected to the net and Netflix at home, it took me some time to watch Episodes 1 and 2. As for the next episodes though, I watched them with much gusto.

That’s how compelling that documentary was, even for a non-Michael fan like me. I couldn’t believe that it was three decades since then and my views about Michael had change a lot. After episode 9 and 10, I have totally changed the way I looked at those six years that he bullied the NBA. I

I have changed the way I looked at, “The Shot” today. Michael didn’t push Russell, it was just what Sir Isaac Newton had said all along- The First Law of Motion. It’s funny that Michael is described by a millennial term the way he pushed his teammates to become greater- bully!

In my heart, body and soul, Michael Jordan is the GOAT. And this is coming from a Laker lifer.

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