Twenty-one, twenty-two, Jordan, twenty-four…

Enough time has passed since his retirement that there is someone on this earth who has never heard of Michael Jordan, but I imagine they are in a lonely minority.  People probably remember him for different reasons: prolific scoring, insanely focused defense, the scoring and MVP and championships.  Or maybe they have an image in their mind: that last-second shot over poor Craig Ehlo, or his taking it to the rack against Sam Perkins only to switch the ball from right to left hand for a soft bank, or maybe even Jordan sobbing on the locker room floor clutching the game ball after winning his first championship since his father’s murder on Father’s Day.  What is fixed so firmly in my mind is not a record or an image…it is his indomitable will.  I have never seen before or hope to see again another person who could so throughly impose his will to win in a team sport, and do it with such regularity whether the game was meaningless or the close-out game of the championship.  When it was on the line, you knew, his team knew, and every guy on the other team knew what was about to happen.  Money.  And when gravity finally took over and he hit the floor for the last time in Miami on April 11, 2003, the Miami Heat officially retired the number 23 jersey even though Jordan had never played for their team.  Money.  (23 August, 2011  Oslo cruise terminal, Oslo, Norway)