Being Michael Jordan makes the little things hard
In the late ’80s, Michael Jordan could do anything on the basketball court. But his on-court wizardry made it impossible to have the normal off-court life of a guy in his mid-20s.
There were perks, of course, like tables at the hottest restaurants in Chicago and police escorts to the airport, but also drawbacks. Jordan, for example, couldn’t go to the grocery store without being mobbed.
Several of Jordan’s teammates told The Undefeated’s Jerry Bembry what it was like to be around MJ every day. Brad Sellers, who joined the Bulls in Jordan’s third NBA season, witnessed Jordan’s evolution into a true superstar. Sellers wondered how a guy like that could run his errands, so he asked Mike.
“You saw MJ doing laundry in the first few episodes and that was him back then, the country side of him, just living like a regular dude,” Sellers said. “But he just got bigger and bigger in basketball and to a point where he couldn’t go out. I remember saying to him one day, ‘Hey, M, how do you eat?’ …
“He told me he would call Jewel-Osco [a grocery chain] about 15 minutes before they closed, and let them know he was coming in,” Sellers said. “They would stay open later to let him shop.”
Jordan would generously tip the staff for staying past work hours.
“He wasn’t making no $30 million a year; I’m sure at that time he was making less than a million,” Sellers said. “But it was a lot of money at the time and he made sure that he took care of people.”
Jordan probably wasn’t the only athlete during that era to do something like that. Athletes now have assistants and personal chefs that can shop for them. That’s why Dwyane Wade was so astonished by the prices at Old Navy. He got so famous in Miami that he couldn’t go out to stores and just had other people do his shopping for him.
These days, you have to cover your face to go into the grocery store but MJ still wouldn’t be able to go undetected. The bald, 6'6" guy wearing the world’s ugliest jeans? You don’t have to see his face to know that’s Michael Jordan.
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