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?
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!
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.
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
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!
For more info on my journey to play Michael Jordan:
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