Hoopy Ever after; Michael Jordan's Switch to Baseball Novice from Basketball Superstar Is the Subject of an Engrossing New Film

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), December 8, 2010 | Go to article overview

Hoopy Ever after; Michael Jordan's Switch to Baseball Novice from Basketball Superstar Is the Subject of an Engrossing New Film


MICHAEL Jordan's sporting life was all about flying high.

He made his name with gravity-flouting slam dunks and enjoyed sky-rocketing salaries, living at the top of his sport for more than a decade.

But it was only when the basketball superstar's life hit its lowest ebb that it really got interesting.

In 1993, the double Olympic "dream team" gold medallist and six-time NBA champion found his world falling apart when his beloved father, Jim Jordan, was shot dead in a car jacking attack in North Carolina.

The trauma affected Michael so badly that, at the very peak of his powers and fame, he retired from his game and made the most shocking announcement in the history of American sport.

Michael "Air" Jordan was giving up basketball to try to become a baseball player.

The impact of the story was huge - imagine if Cristiano Ronaldo quit Real Madrid to play rugby league or if Andy Murray wanted to star for Hibs.

The sporting world reeled at the seeming arrogance of the man who felt he could skip two decades of training, coaching and practice and parachute his way into a different sport, so conspiracy theories, including gambling accusations, sprung up.

But now, almost 17 years later, the story has been told thanks to a documentary film from the director who has made the most authentic sports feature films of the past 20 years.

Ron Shelton, an ex-minor league baseball player, made his name with sports comedy dramas Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump and Tin Cup.

Shelton, 65, has always been fascinated by the story of the switch and, when he was invited to make a movie for sports channel ESPN, he knew what subject to pick.

The result is Jordan Rides The Bus, which, in the space of 60 minutes, manages to dispel the conspiracy theories and look inside the troubled psyche of the sportsman, with the inside track from friends, reporters and team-mates.

Ron said he was delighted to get his teeth into the story and help present the truth to sports fans.

He added: "I decided I wanted to go back and look at it fresh, without any preconditions or bias.

"Michael doesn't like to do interviews but, when I wrote to him about the project, he gave me his blessing, which allowed me access to the NBA and his friends and team-mates. He is still so powerful today that if he says no, people won't talk.

"At the time, it was a huge story. It was also a huge shock and, like a lot of people, I thought it was the height of hubris and megalomania to think that he could become a baseball player.

"It was only after all these years and after examining it properly that I had a different appreciation of it and changed my view.

"To this day, every cab driver, butcher or man on the street still thinks that Michael Jordan left basketball because gambling forced him to leave.

"I thought that was part of it 15 years ago. But it's not true and I try to say it is nonsense in this movie."

As Ron's film explains, Jordan's baseball journey was sparked by his father's murder.

The loss of his dad made Jordan re-evaluate his life and he was inspired to live up to his father's ambition that his son become a baseballer.

Father and son had been huge baseball fans and, despite being converts to basketball, they would always joke and talk about swapping slam dunks for home runs.

And in October 1993 that's exactly what he decided to do. He retired from the Chicago Bulls side who had just won three titles in a row and signed for the Chicago White Sox - also owned by the Bulls' boss Jerry Reinsdorf.

The Sox farmed the then 31-year old-Jordan to one of their minor league sides, the Birmingham Barons, and when the season started in March 1994, all eyes were on the Alabama league side.

"Jordan is a celebrity superstar, but he is also a very complex guy," Ron confirmed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hoopy Ever after; Michael Jordan's Switch to Baseball Novice from Basketball Superstar Is the Subject of an Engrossing New Film
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.