The sociologists call us Generation X but a more appropriate designation is the Jordan Generation. Michael Jordan was older than we were. The non-stop nostalgia tour of his career on ESPN for his 50th birthday reminds me that those of us in Generation X grew up with him, but we weren't the same age. Not even close.
At the time, his competitive zeal was endearing. We wanted to "Be Like Mike" just as the Nike commercials implored. Now though, his insatiable desire to win, characterized by the petulant speech he gave when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, sounds anachronistic. I'm curious to hear if others from the Jordan Generation have difficulty believing we once wanted to be this guy.
After reading this recent story from ESPN Magazine that illumines Jordan's life after basketball, I'm more intrigued than disappointed. Here is the most memorable anecdote:
In case anyone in the inner circle forgets who's in charge, they only have to recall the code names given to them by the private security team assigned to overseas trips. Estee is Venom. George is Butler. Yvette is Harmony. Jordan is called Yahweh
a Hebrew word for God.
We already know extraordinary success, money, and fame comes at a price that's paid after selling off a part of yourself. But who knew that the persistent pursuit of victory on Jordan's scale meant that the victor would eventually "Be Like God?"