Adam Auslund was a long time intern for multiple shows on the FOX Sports Network, but has now found his place, and a job, working for The Petros and Money Show.
Originally from Nor Cal, he’s been described as a bitter, broken sports fan ever since he experienced the rare "Hat Trick of Death" where all 3 of his teams (Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants and Carolina Panthers) all lost their respective sports’ championship game in the short span of a year and a half.
Adam now tries to look at sports from a less serious, more irreverent perspective, because that’s what helps bury the pain and keep him sober.
Growing up I despised Michael Jordan. I can still remember my dad driving with me in the passenger seat down Barton road (near my old house in Loomis, CA) in a 70’s, orange, F-150 truck, and listening on the AM Radio to MY Lakers and MY sports hero, Magic Johnson, lose to MJ and the Chicago Bulls in the ‘91 NBA Finals. I was only 9 years old, and had just learned how you could have genuine hatred for someone you’ve never met. Keep in mind, this was also way before I had ever seen a Michael Bay movie. In fact, Michael Bay movies didn’t exist then. It was a better time.
But not for me at that moment because Michael Jordan had just brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t from the beauty of his “switch the ball to his left hand in mid-air and lay it in” memorable shot from those same NBA finals. A shot I often whined for my dad to emulate in the front driveway, which he did admirably for someone who had John Stockton like hops, if memory serves me correctly.
No, this loss had greater implications and those were tears from sadness and anger, knowing I’d never hear the end of this 5 game slaughtering that MJ put down on my favorite player from my older sister, who couldn’t care less about the NBA until Jordan arrived on the scene. She even had a Bulls Starter jacket. Yeah. How annoying.
Meanwhile I was like an NBA hipster fan back then. Always rooting for the secondary, lesser seen, lesser exposed players in the league. I know it could seem like Magic didn’t fit that formula, but at that time, believe me (and if not, put the documentary "Hoop Dreams" in), everything was already about MJ back then. And now, he had just won his first title.
I was entering a world of pain.
For the next 8 years (minus 1 year where Jordan retired and the following year where he came back late in the season, only to lose in the playoffs to Orlando and my next favorite player, the next Magic Johnson, Penny Hardaway) I would be tormented by false hope that Drexler, Barkley, GP, or Malone would be able to stop Michael Jordan in the Finals and in doing so, STOP the calls to my house from my other nemesis, a rival NBA fan at school, Garrett Vanderboom. I didn’t know it then, but looking back now, he was my Scott Tederman. And not just because he was a full blown ginger. Garrett was a crazed Michael Jordan fan, and one of the popular, cool kids, who was always equipped with the latest air jordans. Every year, as soon as the confetti started raining down in the arena, he’d call my house, laughing, gloating, fresh off just viewing John Paxson, Steve Kerr, or his “Airness” himself, having just seconds ago knocked down another series clinching shot.
To stay within the time period, I could definitely relate to the popular catchphrase from the caveman character Bill in the “The Terrible Thunderlizards” cartoon, whose plans always blew up in his face-- literally. So whenever he found himself underneath a tree or boulder that was supposed to give him freedom, but had now somehow became his undoing, he wouldn’t swear, he’d just simply ask, “when does the hurting stop?”
But there was no relief for me back then and I was seeing red again.
Growing up and maturing as a person can work wonders though, and as the years past after Jordan’s 2nd retirement, I began to fully appreciate the greatness that I had so much disdain for in my youth.
I missed the unnecessary tongue wagging. The aggressive but controlled chaos in his game. The unmatched pairing of raw talent and developed skill that he wielded like a double edged sword. I missed the pain of him dominating my favorite players. I even missed the obligatory calls from Garrett Vanderboom after a big Bulls win.
I was now living in a bizarro world where I found myself defending MJ. I had become so tired of ESPN constantly pushing the next Jordan, be it Grant Hill, then Vince Carter, then Kobe Bryant, who in all fairness is the closest thing, but also in all fairness, is still far, FAR from the real thing. Anyone saying otherwise is just either trying to make news, or too young to have seen the majority of Jordan’s career, live.
These new stars were just cheap imitations of the player I hated. Kids today (I’m officially getting old) can never understand what a terror MJ was on the court. How haters like me would make silent deals with the devil, offering our collective souls to try and combat MJ’s one soul (which was obviously already in the hands of satan in the trade off for all that talent and winning) just to see him lose in the finals. Just once. But it never happened.
So on Sunday, Michael is turning 50 (now I really feel old) and his tease or threat in his 2009 hall of fame speech of his possible return is upon us. Recently, Lakers small forward Antawn Jamison started an interesting debate when saying he believes Jordan could still average 10 points a game today, at half a century in age.
I have to agree.
Jordan is simply too smart, too savvy, too skilled, not to be able to get you 10 points in limited minutes on any team. Of course all of this is dependent on his health and being able to even jog down the court without his knees sliding down to his ankles and falling off. But if he has anything left in the tank, he'd be able to do it. I suspect he would have to rely on his pump fake a lot, but that would be enough to go 4-11 shooting with a couple free throws mixed in there, in about 20 slow-motion minutes off the bench to get that 10 points. But he'd get them.
I met Jordan a couple years ago when he was walking out of an elevator at Harrah’s after a day of golfing at the annual American Century Golf tournament in beautiful Lake Tahoe.
It was a strange finally seeing him in person. For a moment, i felt like I was transported back to the 90’s. He didn’t look like a late 40’s washed up, soft, pudgy, shell of his former self, that I would have expected to depress me. Perhaps the moment just overwhelmed me and I was seeing what I wanted to see, but I swear to you, in those 30 seconds that he walked from the elevator towards me and down into the casino, I thought I was looking at a prime Jordan, who was ready to take off from the free-throw line again.
It was an out-of-body experience...at least right up until he rejected my offer to come on the radio show I was promoting-- WHILE NOT EVEN LOOKING AT ME!
I always knew he was a dick.
Anyways, here’s the very best, obscure, Michael Jordan videos on youtube for you to watch and celebrate him on his birthday. You won’t find a better compilation of Jordan highlights anywhere. I'd say 90% of these clips you haven't seen or certainly don't remember. Relating it to an album from your favorite band, these would be the deep cuts you won't find on mainstream radio. Or you know, not the same old highlights you'll see on ESPN over and over again this week.