Air Jordan

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Some good friends of mine had a framed copy of this poster over the bed in their guest room for several years.  I always felt well attended to whenever I slept over.

When I read in the paper that Michael Jordan turned 53 today (!), I thought: there’s a quick blog post, one that celebrates the beauty of the athletic figure and of athletic skill and prowess.  MJ was both beautifully athletic and athletically beautiful.

I had a mind to include a brief ‘highlight reel’ of some of his more insane shots/dunks–they abound on YouTube–but I found most of them were ruined by jarring music and/or intrusive graphics.  And the footage is often grainy, since his career highlights go back to the 1980s (college) and the early-to-mid 1990s.  (I remember being on call in the ER, in the waning days of my Internal Medicine residency, on the night in June 1991 when Jordan won his first NBA championship with the Bulls; one of the patients I was tending to was watching the game on one of those ubiquitous ceiling-mounted TVs you see in hospitals).

But still photos tell a very fine story, too; all of these, as well as “Blue Dunk”, at the top of this post, are by Walter Iooss, who said “It was impossible to take a bad photograph of Michael Jordan.” (He’s the athlete Iooss photographed most in his 50+ year career).

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I wanted to post this on Jordan’s actual birthday so will close here, but have to say that as I was putting this together, I started to think more broadly about the notion of beauty in sports…it’s certainly there, and in a variety of forms–pure physical beauty; the beauty of movement and motion; the beauty of a particular skill honed to perfection–but I would argue that it’s not represented equally in all sports.

So I think you may hear more from me about this down the line.

12 comments

  • When I first started doing medical reports for the CBS affiliate WFSB in Hartford, I covered the Sammy Davis, Jr. Greater Hartford Open golf tournament in July 1985. At the member-guest event on Wednesday there were big stars present: Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, Sammy, Jerry Lewis, etc. I’ll never forget the commotion one person caused that day: Michael Jordan. The crowd swarmed to him. He towered over the children as his rugby scrum slowly moved across the property. I knew at that moment this man was going to be a phenomenon. Not just athletically, but someone who would transcend his sport.

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      • He was a novice back then. it was not long before his competitive nature consumed him and he tried to master the game. He never quite could – as in baseball. I hear he bet quite heavily on his golf matches.

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    • Couldn’t agree more, Ray. On my first tour in the blogosphere, I did two posts on baseball; there will absolutely be more this time around.

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  • Beauty in sports … yes. Reminds me of a recent conversation about the jaw-dropping, never-to-be-forgotten Torvill and Dean ice dancing routines in the ’84 Olympics.

    Liked by 1 person

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