The court seems much smaller than I thought. Seems like the same size as every court I've ever played on, upon further inspection. I feel like this is a mistake, but that's why basketball is so cool-you can play on the same-size court as the NBA's best, mimic their moves, and then, when you watch the games on TV, you can truly appreciate what they're doing.
Please direct your attention to the overhead screens. You got it, Bulls announcer.
Cue the inspiration Michael Jordan video. I have goose bumps up and down both arms. It may be cliché, but the quotes about never giving up, champions performing under pressure, and succeeding at all costs get me every single time.
Feels like we're building up to something, doesn't it?
I scan the arena seats, searching for a certain former shooting guard.
He's got to be here somewhere, right?
I spy a tall, bald silhouette.
"Hey, do you think..."
Coughing because I've forgotten how to breathe.
After settling down and repeating over and over to myself to stay calm, the Bulls PR guy announces Michael Jordan, who walks out slowly from the tunnel where the editors were just preparing to race onto the court. Jordan is clad in jeans, a mock turtleneck, a crushed blue velvet blazer, and black wingtips. He seems to be at least nine feet tall.
He's slapping high fives with the editors.
"Sup, Mike?" Thwack. (Stares at hand lovingly for three minutes.)
We take our seats at center court for the unveiling of the kicks. The Nike execs pulled the curtain back to reveal, for the first time, the AIR JORDAN XX3's. The attention to detail this year is phenomenal.
Apparently, the presentation is over, and there's a Q & A portion. Apparently, we're going to be allowed to ask Michael Jordan a question. Apparently, I've got to ask him something. I forget everything I've already prepared and just try to remember my name.
What in the hell should I ask Michael Jordan? I didn't know I'd be without my question sheet at this critical juncture...
Gotta ask him something, right?
Most questions are casual, focusing on the shoes. "Will there be lowtops?" or, "How do you address counterfeit sneakers?"
Can I actually do this?
He's just another guy, he's just another guy, a regular dude, that's it.
I'm crushed. We're told that the next question will be MJ's last. My one opportunity to speak with my hero, the man I've idolized since I was a kid, and I've passed it up. I'm furious with myself for not being the first person to raise their hand, and completely relieved it's over.