Barack is the new Mike
President calls for responsibility -- Jordan, athletes can lead the way
January 21, 2009
BY RICK TELANDER Sun-Times Columnist
Be like Mike was then. Be like Barack is now. (ugh...here we go. I can't even read the fucking sports section without this shit?) In 1991, Gatorade (and Jordan's agent) needed a motto, a catchy song refrain to sell its sports drink that was to be promoted by a recently signed, nearly superhuman athlete at the peak of his powers. (thank you for not using hyperbole, Rick)
Michael Jordan embodied more than basketball dominance after winning his first NBA championship with the Bulls in the spring of 1991; he was the epitome of skill and grace and luxury and an unsuppressed me-first hedonism that would become the signature philosophy for the decade. (Whoa! I thought that was the Reagan Years?!? When did the 90's suddenly become the 'me-first' decade? What in the hell is he talking about? Rick, you can't create bullshit just to fit your article's overall theory...jesus...that's Phil Rogers' job...)
Jordan may have played with a team, but he mostly tolerated his teammates (that was big of him). He was the show. People wanted to be like Mike. Not Ron Harper. (taking a shot at the stutterer..nice touch)
Jordan was perfect for a time when shrewd Americans ruled with credit, when wealth was its own reward, when somebody else could handle matters such as ruined health care, failing inner-city schools, crumbling neighborhoods, subtle segregation, gang violence, illegal immigration, crack cocaine, Wall Street pigs at the trough.
But that was then. (No.....it.......wasn't. I was there, bud. Way to broadstroke the entire population into being disinterested, racist, violent, drug-abusing, money-grubbing assholes. Fuck you, too, Rick)
That was before 9-11, before the Iraq war, before the mortgage meltdown and the global economic collapse of right now. (thanks for the sobering reminder, sir)
President Barack Obama gave his inaugural speech Tuesday, and it rang out with rebukes to the old Ugly American way.
Many athletes came to the Washington ceremonies these last few days, including Muhammad Ali, Dave Winfield and Dikembe Mutombo. Even apolitical Tiger Woods appeared Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial event, somewhat dispassionately (compared to the fawning and masturbatory press coverage, yeah, he seemed a bit subdued) praising the military and thereby himself: ''I am the son of a man who dedicated his life to his country, family and the military, and I am a better person for it.''
Obama, the first African-American leader of this nation (again, great reminder...paid by the word?) , brought out many, inspired millions.
His speech was eloquent, soaring and harsh. He said it was time for us to ''reform bad habits,'' that ''the time has come to set aside childish things.''
But Mike himself was nowhere to be seen. (I started to panic, too! Where WAS he!?!?) Maybe he was behind the Capitol Hill scenes somewhere. But our instinct told us it was more likely he was somewhere playing golf, smoking cigars, gambling, chasing pleasure. (nah. Doubt it)
Jordan can do that. He is rich for life. (exactly! I know it's difficult for normal people to play golf, smoke cigars and gamble...that shit is only for the wealthiest 1%) But maybe not in things that matter.
And Obama was impassioned about those things.
We must ''pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off,'' he said, and get back in the game of dedication, hard work, concern for our less-well-off (????) fellow citizens. No more can we be gluttonous, carefree joy-seekers without a thought. (man, he has the pulse of the nation..) To be moral and involved is right. ''What is required is responsibility,'' he said.
Most of the star athletes in this country are African-American, and now their president is giving them a clarion call to act right, to be anti-Charles Barkleys. To be role models.
It is time for the Michael Vicks and Plaxico Burresses and Travis Henrys (nine children by nine women) to shed their hang-ups and indulgences and act right. (but, certainly, not while Bush was in office. NOW, is the time to straighten up...gotcha.)
It is time for young black males -- for all young males -- to admire and try to be like Barack: strong and smart and educated and compassionate. (again....where was this shit before? Why now? Listen, pal.....if a young man was a fuck-up before Jan. 20th, having a black man as president isn't going to turn his ass around. Get a clue.)
''Sometimes I dream
''That he is me...
''If I could be like Mike.''
Those are the old words, and it is not too late for Jordan himself to come out and be involved in Obama's all-inclusive gang and set our country right again. (Indeed, look to the superstar athletes. They hold the truth)
(Rick, go back to writing about gymnastics or something equally as boring....please. Then, I can ignore you easier)