Can anyone ever again be like Mike? A few nights ago, I was watching an NBA playoff game (yes, Pittsburghers sometimes watch pro basketball) when they cut away to a shot of Michael Jordan. And I got the sudden urge to watch one of the Be Like Mike ads. So I checked out the original on youtube.
“Sometimes I dream / that he is me / you’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be / I dream I move / I dream I groove / like Mike / if I could be like Mike.”
And in the wake of the Ben Roethlisberger and Tiger Woods scandals, it gets me to thinking whether any athlete will ever again be as beloved as Michael Jordan. Oh I get that Cavs and Jazz and Knicks fans will hate him forever and a day but for the casual fan who remembers him, I don’t think anyone will ever approach Michael Jordan. It’s been too many years and too many comebacks since he was the true force of the NBA, of sports in general, but just watch the commercial again.
It’s possible, even probable, that someone someday will approach his greatness on the court (Kobe Bean Bryant, Kevin Durant?). Someone someday may make more money off the court (Lebron James?). But can you ever imagine another athlete inspiring a “Be Like Mike”-style commercial? That pure, almost child-like sense of awe and adulation. It’s a brilliant spot, really.
Kobe & Lebron get a lot of publicity and have lots of commercials out these days. They’re funny. They’re witty. They really make me hope that Lebron leaves Cleveland. I imagine Kevin Durant will get his own set soon. None of those spots will be the same as the “Be Like Mike” ad. Even before his scandals, I don’t think that Tiger Woods was as big and as awe-inspiring as Michael Jordan.
We all know now that Jordan wasn’t the nicest of gentlemen. He berated his coaches and teammates. He gambled almost compulsively. He drove people nuts. Put simply, he was an ass. But he still inspired that commercial and all that goes with it.
Sorry but I don’t want to be like Lebron James or Kevin Durant. I still want to be like Mike. (And I was an Olajuwon fan).