Jordan's Got Time on Hands, World at Fingertips

By McDill, Kent | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 17, 1999 | Go to article overview

Jordan's Got Time on Hands, World at Fingertips


McDill, Kent, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kent McDill Daily Herald Sports Writer

Michael Jordan has a problem we all wish we could experience.

Perhaps "problem" isn't even the correct word.

Jordan is in position to suffer from a modern-world crisis known as having too many choices. With his retirement from professional basketball Wednesday, and thanks to the millions and millions of dollars he has earned as an athlete and product endorser, Jordan finds himself retired one week prior to his 36th birthday, with a whole life to fill ahead of him.

"Tough life," you say?

Little did you know, perhaps, that there are psychologists who deal with patients suffering from this problem. Not in places like Belarussia, perhaps, but here in the States, it can stymie a person.

Don't worry about Jordan, though. Even if it becomes impossible for him to find a way to channel his life force outside the game of basketball, he can always a find a job in the National Basketball Association.

Let's leave that as our final avenue, however, as we explore the strange new world Jordan enters. It's a world where every day can be as exciting, or as boring, as he chooses to make it.

It's about to be the first Monday morning of the rest of Michael Jordan's life. What will he be doing?

Parenting

For at least a while, Jordan said he plans to make this his life's work. Parents all over the world can tell him he can indeed lose himself in the lives of his three children, Jeffrey, Marcus and Jasmine, if he so chooses.

"I enjoy taking my kids to school," Jordan said. "I enjoy picking my kids up from school. I enjoy watching my kids play. Those are things that seem so simple in a lot of people's lives and never really been enjoyed by myself because of all the things I've done over the last 14 years."

Jordan has three children in grade school, and each is involved in after-school activities. Jeffrey and Marcus both play sports, and Jordan now will be able to attend as many of their basketball games as he wishes.

Many parents in the real world have to do some serious schedule-adjusting to be able to do just that.

Jordan, however, does not intend to become a coach for his grade school boys, or for Jasmine when she chooses a sport.

"I couldn't do that," Jordan said. "I actually think I am too competitive. I would worry about pushing too hard."

Jordan said Wednesday he already is having trouble getting his point across as a coach to the two boys.

Welcome to parenthood.

Business

No athlete since Arnold Palmer has been able to compete with the level of success Jordan has had as a product endorser. But Jordan differentiated himself from so many other athletes because he involved himself in nearly every product he worked with.

Picture Jordan in a locker room prior to a regular season game. He is listening to his personal CD player, and he can tell his batteries are wearing down.

He turns into the locker, and what do you know? There he has already plugged in the charger for the line of rechargeable batteries he endorses. His batteries are strong again, ready to pop into the machine.

"These things are great," Jordan says. "Do you use them?"

David Falk, Jordan's agent, said Jordan's immediate business interest is an athletic apparel line company, "Brand Jordan." But Jordan is so proud of all the other products he shills that he could put his hands into any number of pies to keep busy, and to keep his competitive juices flowing.

"He has a lot of corporate affiliations," Falk said. "He has to decide what the next challenges are, what the next mental challenges are and how much time he wants to devote to corporate activities."

Jordan used his laptop computer on the road to keep up with stock prices and business news, in between hands of solitaire.

"There are a lot of business opportunities there, and that won't consume me, but that certainly will take away some of the competitive juices that will be left over from not playing basketball," Jordan said.

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