Monday, February 18, 2008

I Am Whatever The Focus Groups Want Me To Be

Michael Jordan writes* the most ridiculous paragraph I've read in a long time:

I can wear a suit today and jeans with holes tomorrow, and yet people know they are seeing the real me in either outfit. I had cornrows when I was a kid, but it was before anyone knew who I was; would the public or corporate America accept me if I had them today? If I was willing to say, "This is who I am, I'm not trying to be so-and-so," maybe, but even then I'm not sure. When you see Michael Jordan today, you see Michael Jordan as a totally honest person, and when I say honest I mean real, genuine. I am who I am, and that's comprehensible to the masses and in many languages.

Thank God the "real, genuine" Michael Jordan just so happens to (a) be really different than the person he was as a kid (and the obvious imposter in that picture above!); and (b) 100% palatable to focus groups and corporate interests. I mean, can you imagine how much less money he would have made over the years if his persona deviated any from that which was acceptable to mainstream America in the 1980s and 90s?

*He dictated it anyway. Ric Bucher wrote the prose.


Chris H. said...

Well, at least MJ figured out that making himself palatable equalled making himself lots more dough. Every time I see some insanely-talented-yet-sullen-and-belligerent athlete, I wonder why some advisor hasn't explained the financial realities to him/her.

As an example, Albert Belle could've owned lifetime glory from White Sox fans (and the accompanying endorsement opportunities) simply by not being a tool...

Pete Toms said...

Anybody read Rhoden's " Forty Million Dollar Slaves "?

Is he too harsh on Jordan? The " Republicans buy sneakers too " debate etc.

Anyway this is a baseball blog and let's be chauvinistic about our preferred sport. The greatest basketball player ever? ( I haven't a clue, I never watch ) couldn't hit AA pitching!

Shyster said...

Never read it, Pete. Good book?

And you're right about Jordan. Both that he was (a) the best basketball player ever (at least I think so); and (b) that he couldn't hit a lick. Danny Ainge is the poor man's version.

Baseball: 2
Basketball: 0

PONCH said...

The song that was playing when this picture was taken was "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy. I was there.

Pete Toms said...

Yeah, good book.

You'll find plenty of folks on the web who hate it. It is very liberal - hey he's a NY Times reporter - but his is an opinion that isn't often voiced. He thinks the contemporary black athlete still a plantation worker.

For the baseball fan the chapter devoted to the Negro Leagues & Rube Foster in particular is interesting. Rhoden is in the camp who think that MLB integrated not because it was "the right thing" to do but because of $$$. He doesn't think it was good for African Americans to integrate MLB. It's not a new opinion but he is very detailed and persuasive.

Anyway, he doesn't have a high opinion of Jordan. I don't know what he thinks about Woods - another apolitical black superstar - if I read the Times sports it's probably Chass or Sandomir.