Monday, February 18, 2013
#LongRead - "Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building"
ESPN OTL - "Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building"
by Wright Thompson
"This started at an early age. Jordan genuinely believed his father liked his older brother, Larry, more than he liked him, and he used that insecurity as motivation. He burned, and thought if he succeeded, he would demand an equal share of affection. His whole life has been about proving things, to the people around him, to strangers, to himself. This has been successful and spectacularly unhealthy. If the boy in those letters from Chapel Hill is gone, it is this appetite to prove -- to attack and to dominate and to win -- that killed him. In the many biographies written about Jordan, most notably in David Halberstam's "Playing for Keeps," a common word used to describe Jordan is "rage." Jordan might have stopped playing basketball, but the rage is still there. The fire remains, which is why he searches for release, on the golf course or at a blackjack table, why he spends so much time and energy on his basketball team and why he dreams of returning to play."
"In Charlotte, he starts thinking about 218.
Every morning since returning from the islands, he's been in the gym. At mealtime he texts his nutritionist to find out what he can and can't eat. Ostensibly, the reason is that he stepped on a scale after leaving the excess palace of Mister Terrible and saw this number staring back: 261. Nine days later, sitting in his office and surrounded by basketball, he's down to 248. He'll claim it's about health, or looking good for his 50th birthday party. But in his mind, there's a target: 218, a familiar and dangerous number in Jordan's world.
That's his playing weight.
When he mentions that Yvette never saw him play basketball, he says, "She never saw me at 218." On the wall of his office there's a framed photograph of him as a young man, rising toward the rim, legs pulled up near his chest, seeming to fly. He smiles at it wistfully.
"I was 218," he says."
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