Michael Jordan was pretty blatantly avoiding contact with the gallery as he approached the first tee of the 2005 Tahoe Celebrity Golf Invitational. I had procured spots right by the makeshift fence (think yellow rope) on the first row for myself and the friends who were with me. Again, keep in mind that Mike was ignoring all the fans gathered there, even when he was directly addressed.
He broke out a cigar that was approximately the size of a two-year-old’s arm, and proceeded to light it, having just teed off. A hush fell over the crowd as the foursome of celebrities began to make their way off of the tee box. I seized the opportunity like Eminem in 8 Mile and shouted, “Hey Mike, I graduated from Carolina in ‘02…”
[Insert awkward pause as everyone, with the notable exception of his Airness, looked at me.]
When it became obvious that all of the humans in earshot were waiting for his reply, he sarcastically (and without even so much as glancing my direction) said “congratulations,” not bothering to take the toddler’s-arms-worth of tobacco out of his mouth.
There ends my tale of conversing with Michael Jordan. It might have been sarcastic and borderline rude, but the greatest professional basketball player ever had spoken to me.
He’s back in town today, playing in the 2009 version of the same tournament. Maybe I should go and scream out “Hey Mike, 4 years ago I told you that I graduated from Carolina!” Just to see what he’d say.