Me and Michael Jordan! (Telling MJ about mevsMJ.com)

by Kenny Eller on July 18, 2012

Me and Michael Jordan!

Charlotte, NC – 

It was last Wednesday afternoon, in the 23rd month of this journey, and there he was, Michael Jeffrey Jordan – the six rings, the 32,292 points, the 6x NBA Finals MVP, the game winners, the G.O.A.T, the reason I play basketball and the inspiration for this site.

Just minutes after his welcoming speech at the 4th Annual Charlotte Bobcats Fantasy Camp, he stood alone on the side of the court as the camp staff ushered us off, so that group photos could be taken.

I was just feet from Michael Jordan, the MJ in mevsMJ.com and I almost didn’t approach him.  Internally I battled as to whether or not it was the right time.

I figured surely I would see him again or would I?

Hours Before

In an oversized chair located in the dimly lit lobby of a Charlotte hotel, I sat and reflected.  I thought about all of the places this journey had taken me, what I’ve learned about myself and others, the people that have encouraged, supported and helped and of course those that have been less than stellar in my pursuit.

I was just hours away from, well I wasn’t exactly sure, but what I did know was that Michael Jordan would be there and with that came an opportunity to realize the dream.

An Unexpected Phone Call

Two weeks prior, at an all day breakfast joint in downtown Orlando, in between bites of omelet and sips of coffee, I received an unexpected phone call from Charlotte, North Carolina that changed everything.

The caller after having identified himself as being with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, said he was calling to make sure my experience with the Bobcats had been a good one this year.

I thanked him for calling, but explained that I hadn’t been to a game, which left him in silence.

He asked, really?

He regrouped and said that perhaps I had attended a concert or some sort of an event at the arena this year.

When I let him know that I had never been to Charlotte and that I in fact lived just outside of Orlando, Florida, he couldn’t believe it.

Still surprised and probably not quite sure where to take the conversation at that point, he closed with, “Well, I’m not really sure how we have your information, but if you are ever in the area and you’d like to come to a game, please let me know if I can help.”

I thanked him again and then right before we ended the call an image of a 48 year old Jordan dunking flashed through my head.  With nothing to lose, I figured I would ask about the event that was held last year in which MJ did this.  He knew what I was referring to, so I then asked if they would be doing a similar event again anytime soon.

He let me know that the Bobcats were and within hours I was confirmed for the camp to be held exactly two weeks later!

Nerves

I’m not someone that generally gets very nervous.  I don’t get star struck either, ever.  My time in sports television cured me of that as a young man.

I admit, sure I was a little nervous/excited before my speech at the Chandler Parsons basketball camp recently.  I think that’s normal though, as I just wanted to do my best and make an impact on the young people.  I was excited before my time with Mark Cuban.  More excited than nervous before playing pros.  All what I would say are quite normal feelings.

This whole trip to Charlotte was at another level though.  I had adrenaline overload for almost the entire 14 days leading up the the camp!  Sleepless nights on the regular.  I’d wake up at 2am and think it was time to go get some makes in.  That happened multiple mornings.  The day of the camp I had to force myself to eat.

I suppose it was all of the unknowns, the uncontrollables.  Would I get to speak with Michael, would he like what I was doing, would he agree to play, would he get that my goal is bigger than a game of basketball?

I didn’t know any of the answers to those questions, but that is where I had to lean on my faith.

There wasn’t an ounce of me that thought that the phone call I received was any kin to the word accident.

Shoot Around & My mevsMJ.com Shirt

I arrived at the arena right at 4:30 pm, checked in and was given a nice big Jordan brand bag, branded shorts, shirt, socks and Gatorade.

I changed like everyone else into the given attire, with one exception.  Instead of donning the sweet Jumpman camp shirt, I slid my mevsMJ.com shirt over it.

I had thought I would just warm up with it on and then take it off, as it isn’t a dri-fit type of shirt, but rather a cotton one.  That of course means it can get a little hot.

After 30 or so minutes of shooting though, it hit me.  The day wasn’t about me shooting the ball well or performing well.

My sole purpose was to get my message to Michael Jordan – and with that I decided to wear the shirt the entire time.

I’m glad I did.

Me and Michael Jordan

As everyone was making their way off the court for group photos, I took a step towards Michael, then still battling myself internally a step away, before deciding to just go for it.

I walked up, introduced myself to Michael Jordan and then the man I watched dominate so many basketball games, made it so easy.

After the intial hello, I asked while pointing to my shirt, “Have you had a chance to check out my site mevsMJ.com?”

He leaned around and read it aloud, “me verses MJ dot com”

I interjected, “I gave you a card down in Orlando.

He began to smile as he shook his head no, saying “mevsMJ.com.  No, no, I haven’t had a chance to check it out, but I’m going to go upstairs right after we are done taking pictures and take a look!”

I began telling him what I was looking to accomplish, what the site has become, when he then reached back and got the attention of Bobcats President and COO Fred Whitfield.

He said, “Hey Fred, you gotta check this out.  He’s got a site called mevsMJ.com.  We’ve got to go check that out upstairs as soon as we are done here.”

Fred nodded in agreement as we spoke.

Explaining that my purpose was bigger than basketball, I then turned around and asked Michael to read the back of my shirt.

He placed his hands on my shoulders and read the message I’ve been spreading aloud, “Anything is Possible with Faith & Hard Work”.

He then read my name which runs vertically on the back of the shirt and said with one of his famous mannerisms, “OK, I’m going to check it out!”

As I took a step away, he asked, “Is it hot?”

Looking back, before I could respond, he asked again, “You got anything hot on the site?”

I said, “Of course!”

He then smiled again and said, “OK, I’m gonna go upstairs, check it out, and then come back down here and tell you if it’s hot or not!”

I laughed and said, “Sounds good!”

Video of Me and Michael Jordan

Here is some video from my interaction with Michael Jordan.

 

[If you are reading this via email/feed – click here to watch video.]

Fantasy Camp

With my group, I took my photo with Michael and the other coaches.

I then went through the camp, won the shooting contest and was the last person to leave the arena.

The ushers actually had to come take the ball from me, but not before I made my 10th free throw in a row.

Michael never came back down, but I fully understood as he and the Bobcats’ staff was working on a possible trade for the team.

Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work

After 23 months of effort, thousands upon thousands of words, through training at all hours, the injuries, rejection, doubt and pessimism, through life changing experiences, to the testing of everything I believe in, on July 11th, 2012, the dreamer won!

I’ve always believed that if the purpose was pure, that ANYTHING Is Possible with FAITH and HARD WORK!

Sure, Michael and I haven’t played 1-on-1 yet.

But we all know, it’s only a matter of time now.

me vs. MJ…the journey continues!  As always thank you for following along.

Me and Michael Jordan Photos

 

  • Me and Michael Jordan
    Me and Michael Jordan
  • Telling MJ about mevsMJ.com
    Telling MJ about mevsMJ.com
  • Michael Jordan pointing to mevsMJ.com
    Michael Jordan pointing to mevsMJ.com
  • Talking with Michael Jordan about my dream
    Talking with Michael Jordan about my dream
  • MJ calling over Bobcats' President and COO Fred Whitfield
    MJ calling over Bobcats' President and COO Fred Whitfield
  • Talking with Michael Jordan and Fred Whitfield
    Talking with Michael Jordan and Fred Whitfield
  • Michael Jordan looking at the back of my mevsMJ.com shirt
    Michael Jordan reading the back of my shirt
  • Group photo - notice my shirt :)
  • Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, Me and LeVelle Moton
    Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, Me and LeVelle Moton
  • Me and Dell Curry
    Me with Dell Curry after winning the shooting contest
  • Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work
  • Michael before his speech
  • Spreading the word
    Spreading the mevsMJ.com word
  • Listening to MJ speak
  • Warming up before the camp began
  • Ready to ball
  • Taking in the sites
  • Skills Challenge
  • Making it rain
  • Accepting my trophy for winning the shooting competition
  • Me with my ball for winning the shooting competition
  • The last one in the arena

[To see full images – click here]

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Connect:  Twitter (@KennyEller) and mevsMJ.com Facebook Fan Page.

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If you’re new to the site, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan.  This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

rohb jennings July 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Kenny! That is great man, I’m glad you’re journey has taken you to this point and should you well when you get your game all the best to you in suceeding and winning the game! I’m happy for you it gives me hope in reaching for my own goals, thanks for the inspiration!

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Thank you so much Rohb! I appreciate the continued support!

I also know that you CAN reach your goals! Anything is Possible with Faith and Hard Work bro! Keep believing!

Reply

John Southee July 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Kenny, I’ve been waiting to read this story since you posted the pictures but what had the most impact on me today was the short video. I watched as you were about to walk away as was MJ and you stopped anyways and shook his hand. Again, MJ was about to walk away after the brief handshake but YOU WENT FOR IT! You seized an opportunity. AMAZING! I have had my run-ins with celebs and wanted to get a chance to do something similar. Instead, I let the voice of maybe another time, you’ll see them again win. I have learned that opportunities come few and far between and your video was a great reminder to me to take chances. What’s the worst that could happen? I wish you continued success on the journey.

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm

John, thank you for your enthusiasm towards my pursuit. It really means a lot!

I learned as a young man, with the help of my Dad, that it’s better to know than to wonder what if (I wrote about it in an older post – X Factor). I’ve tried to apply that to all areas of my life. Still, as I noted, I have the same thoughts that everyone else has. I fear rejection too, but I believe in what I’m doing so much and I believe in the greater cause so much that I’m willing to put myself out there. If you look at the eyes of the other people there, in the video, they wanted to be talking to MJ too, but they did what they were told and left the court so that pictures could be taken. They listened to the voice. It’s a fine line to walk, no doubt, but as I’ve said, if your purpose is pure I think people will pick up on that. My goal is so much larger than a game of 1-on-1 at this point. Michael now knows that:)

I encourage you to go for the things you want in life. As I always say, Anything Is Possible with Faith and Hard Work! I’m rooting for you!

Reply

Jerome July 19, 2012 at 5:19 am

Yes!! Was waiting for this post– good building of suspense from the uploaded pics on facebook, haha! I agree with John above, your proactive attitude was key in you getting what you wanted. It is so true that the fear of failure and anticipation of pain are worse than the actual thing-

I think someone said “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” :)

Also, loved your youth camp speech, if you have the opportunity, you should definitely do more!

Congrats and looking forward to what’s coming next!

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 19, 2012 at 6:53 am

Haha, thank you for your patience Jerome (I had really hoped to get the post up sooner, haha)! I really appreciate the kind words man.

Nice MJ quote! 😀 In life, it’s those little moments that end up being the deciding factor. I’m learning that as well, myself, through this journey.

Thanks for 1) Listening to the speech! and 2) For the positive feedback! I would love to get out to more events and speak more. That was my first speech I’ve done, but everyone there seemed to be really receptive to it. Making an impact and helping others believe is what this is all about!

Thank you for your constant support and encouragement! It is very much appreciated!

Reply

Adam Ryan July 19, 2012 at 6:02 am

Good luck getting to play against MJ man! I am the world’s biggest MJ fan, even though I’m in Australia…check out my site, it’s all MJ!

Thanks again, I’ll be keeping a close eye on your site!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

Thank you for stopping by Adam! I appreciate the support!

I will definitely check out your site and wish you all the best in your journey!

Reply

Mark July 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Congrats buddy! I hope he calls soon and you get the game. He likes to fake hard like he is going right and then stop and pull up. Hopefully, MJ brings his new GF to the game too 😉 That is worth watching!

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thank you Mark! I appreciate it man!

Reply

Shane July 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Kenny I recently checked back into your site and all I can say is wow! You are an inspiration bro. Your game with Jordan is getting closer and closer. As Steve Urkel used to say to Laura on Family Matters, “I am wearing you down.” Mr. Jordan will soon see the light and vision of your dream and play that game of 1 on 1. Btw I started playing ball again, maybe we can catch up again soon and play?

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 22, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thank you Shane! I appreciate the kind words, encouragement and laugh (Urkel…haha)! Yeah, me vs. MJ is only a matter of time now!

Glad to hear you’re playing again! Would love to catch up! Just let me know when!

Reply

Risa Garner July 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

Kenny,
You are such an inspirational figure in pure fashion. I got chills reading your blog and watching the video of you and MJ. I think a dream that you had has opened doors to your true purpose in life. As I have said before, you are touching the hearts of so many, giving empowerment and motivation to those that thought they didn’t have it in them, and starting a revolution! You are a very very special person ….you are doing great things! I don’t know if you will ever grasp the full scope of how much you have made a difference to all of us, but just know that mevsMJ.com is more than just basketball (as you have said)! This is huge…and the positive influence you have put out there is just amazing! You are a fantastic writer, inspiring and motivating speaker, and can make anyone feel like they can get up and do ANYTHING! I am so proud to know you and follow along in your journey. I can’t wait to see what is next! Thank you for being you and not being afraid to push the limits and never take no as a final answer! This can be related to people in so many different ways. It is not just about sports…it is about taking our lives and making them amazing….creating memories, going on journeys and just loving the life we have been given. At the same time never taking for granted what gift we have been given…life! Again, I am beaming with pride for you and so happy for your success!!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

THANK YOU Risa! The kindness, sincerity and time it took you to send your message has made my day and will continue to do so in the future.

Thank you! It is a privilege to call you my friend!

Reply

Michael McClanahan July 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Kenny: This is an unbelieveable story. As a person that has been around basketball all his life, I truly understand that none of this is about hoops. This is a message that I have tried to stress to kids for years. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you with your message. My son Kyle grew up with and is a past teammate of Chandlers and played high school hoops with Jeremiah and Austin Rivers. Kyle graduated from UF and is getting his MBA at Rollins were he will play his last year of eligibility. He also played a number of years on the AAU circuit with DJ. You should let me see if I can get you in some of the pick up games that all of the kids I just referenced play in. Would love for all of them to hear your message.

Reply

Kenny Eller Kenny Eller July 26, 2012 at 12:12 am

Michael,

Thank you for your kind words, seeing the goal beyond the game and for your willingness and want to help! All of what you’ve written sounds amazing and anything you would be willing to do to help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for stopping by, for being a part of this journey and for taking the time to offer some encouragement!

Reply

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