Friday Evening, April 5th
Marcus Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, turned back to me and with the enthusiasm one might show in seeing a 20-year-long friend, said, “Hey man! It’s so great to see you!!!!”
Following handshakes, small-talk, laughs and smiles, he inquisitively asked, “Have you been introduced to my Dad, yet??”
After a short – are you serious! – hesitation on my part, I replied, “Um…well, not formally.”
“Let’s Go!” he encouraged, and away we were, weaving our way to the Dream!
I took the five hour long flight to Las Vegas with my wife, filled with hope!
Here was another opportunity to realize the dream that is mevsMJ.com. Another chance to prove to everyone, what I’ve been saying for years now, that Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
I can honestly share with you that this trip to Las Vegas, that I’m about to describe, BLEW THE CEILING OFF of any expectations of mine.
There were several moments throughout the days in which, Charissa (wife) and I looked at one another in utter amazement.
The dream was coming true, after all of this time, right before our eyes!
And with that – I’m excited to share with you, the most amazing step or better put, gigantic leap, in this journey to date. I hope you enjoy the stories, pictures and videos. Most of all, I hope that when you leave this post…you believe.
Vegas – MJCI
Charissa and I arrived in Las Vegas, early Wednesday morning to find an unusual chill in dry desert air. Surely, the remnants of the cold front that had just passed through.
We weren’t in Vegas to gamble or see shows, though we would do the latter.
We were there for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational.
More specifically, we were there for the invite only – Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Gala!
A great friend and supporter of this journey had called me, just two weeks prior, to let me know that he had two tickets for us to attend the exclusive event!
After checking in at our hotel, I was informed that we would also have VIP access for each day of the four day long (Thursday-Sunday) golf invitational. Truly an unexpected treat that would greatly alter the course of our trip!
This was about to be the most epic experience of my life.
Thursday | MJCI – MJ Laughs
We arrived at the picturesque Shadow Creek golf course, site of the MJCI, just after 10:30 ante meridiem.
As the shuttle bus, used to bring guests from ticket check-in, to the tournament, made its way down the winding drive and through golf’s equivalent of Area 51, we passed Michael Jordan’s foursome on the 5th tee, waiting to tee off.
Off of the bus, my wife and I made our way over to the 5th green, where just a handful of people would be found.
Moments later, cutting through the quiet, chilled morning came music shouting from the coolest, custom Carolina blue, Jordan, golf cart these eyes have ever seen.
It was of course, the one and only Michael Jordan!
As MJ, now out of his cart and walking up the pathway towards the green, came my way, I said hello, we SHOOK HANDS and he asked me how I was doing!
With Jordan now, just a step past me, I called out, “me versus MJ dot com.”
Still walking towards the green, and without looking back, a smile came over Michael’s face and he let out a small chuckle.
Amazingly, within minutes – contact with MJ had been made!
But it gets better!
As Michael walked from the hole and got back into his cart, I politely called his name, “Hey Michael,” and asked, “What do you think about mevsMJ?”
Jordan, turning back and now looking directly at me, smiled again with a cigar wedged in his mouth, let out a hearty laugh and drove away with security in tow.
There was no doubt that Michael Jordan now knew I was there and he seemed to enjoy it!
We followed the the growing Jordan gallery around for another hole or two, ate some lunch and called it what it was, an amazing day!
Friday | MJCI – MJ Acknowledges mevsMJ.com & Says He’ll Play Me Anytime!
We arrived back at the tournament, just after nine in the morning on Friday.
After watching Michael tee off on the first and then third holes, we walked around a bit and decided to make our way to the 5th green again and wait for his group to come through.
I wanted to have some sort of tasteful interaction with MJ on this day as well. I of course had a goal to accomplish, which was to do my best to make this dream a reality, but I didn’t want to be a bother to him in any way.
I really had no clue what I would ask him and then it came to me.
Do You Believe Anything Is Possible?
As Michael’s group made their way to the 5th green, MJ pulled his cart right up off of the edge of the fringe. A change from the day before. It made sense though, as the gallery following him had more than doubled from the prior day.
As Jordan turned his cart around and drove off of the green, I asked him something extremely important in making mevsMJ.com a reality, “Michael, do you believe that Anything Is Possible?”
Biting down on his familiar cigar, the greatest basketball player of all-time nodded in agreement and said, “Yes, I do.”
He then said something I never expected, “Nice shoes!”
The shoes – Jordan’s of course.
It’s a known fact that Michael Jordan always looks at people’s feet. He’s looking to see what kind of shoes they are wearing. He does it quickly. Most never notice. (Go back and watch the above video again. Right before he gets in the cart, you’ll see him look over in my direction.)
On Thursday and prior to the interaction above, there were a few times, as MJ stood waiting to take his next shot, that I saw him look over in my direction.
There is no doubt in my mind that he was very aware of myself and the mevsMJ.com that was across my sweater.
At times, it appeared to me that he actually got a kick out of it.
MJ Says I Won’t Win and He’ll Play Me Anytime!
After watching Michael’s group tee off on the 6th hole, my wife wanted to wait and see Mauricio Umanksy. Who was I, to argue with that? After all, she had come clear across the country to support me and the dream, just as she’s supported me since day one. Umansky is known by most from appearing on the Bravo Network show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
This decision to wait, and not follow MJ’s group – was PIVOTAL.
At this point, Jordan’s group had driven their carts nearly out of sight, down the fairway.
It was literally just Charissa and myself standing there, just off of the 6th tee, waiting.
Then all of a sudden, I look up and here comes Michael’s carolina blue golf cart back our way!
Behind the wheel, MJ himself!
Apparently, there was a private restroom built into the hill of the golf course right off from where we were standing.
As MJ exited the facilities, I thought that it would be a perfect time to ask for a picture.
My reasoning, simply because there was NO ONE around. I wouldn’t have asked if there had been.
So I asked, “Michael, could I get a picture!?” and then, the MOST AMAZING THING HAPPENED!
As kindly as one could, when declining, MJ answered, “I can’t do it right now, man.”
Then Michael Jordan took it to a place that I’VE ONLY DREAMED ABOUT!
“mevsMJ.com, huh?” an engaged Jordan shot my way, as he got back in his cart.
Now smiling, I replied, “What do you think?”
“You Won’t Win! You Won’t Win!,” he quipped with a smile.
Living the dream, I eagerly asked, “When can we play!?”
“Anytime!” a playful Jordan fired back!
Doing my best to seize the moment, I shouted, “I’m Ready!!!”
That evoked a laugh from MJ, as he drove away!
I turned back to my wife, who had fortunately been recording the interaction and neither of us could believe what had just occurred!
Michael Jeffrey Jordan had just acknowledged my website (mevsMJ.com), made a prediction on the game of me versus him, and said he would play anytime!
After over three years and seven months of unwavering faith and unmeasurable amounts of effort, Michael Jordan had just acknowledged my dream!
AND to make things even sweeter, MJ had done so by talking some trash to me, which I LOVED!
Such a dream come true!
Fred Whitfield – A Major Supporter
Still astonished by what had just happened, Umansky’s group arrived at the hole.
Just after taking a picture of Mauricio and my wife, I turned and saw none other than President/COO of the Charlotte Bobcats and one of MJ’s closest allies, Fred Whitfield.
I had last spoken to Mr. Whitfield back in March of 2013 at a Charlotte Bobcats event in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was there where he gave me his business card and encouraged me to email him more details on what mevsMJ.com is all about. A major step, even though I never received a response from my sent message.
After catching up Mr. Whitfield on my recent job change and some small talk, I asked if he had ever received my email.
He stated that he had and that he LOVES what I’m doing!
When I began explaining to him that it’s not about trying to beat MJ and that the real goal to to inspire others and prove that Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work, he ensured me that HE UNDERSTOOD. He let me know that HE GOT IT!
I acknowledged that it’s a HUGE ask with it being MJ, which Mr. Whitfield concurred, but then also encouraged me to see it through.
While standing side by side readying for our picture, he told Umansky, “This guy’s been trying to play MJ for a few years now!”
We said our goodbyes, shook hands and he let me know that it’d be great to have me up for a Bobcats Playoff game.
I left the interaction feeling like I had gained a major supporter. My fear that perhaps my journey had been misinterpreted, was put to rest.
The day really couldn’t have gotten any better…BUT it did!
Friday Night | MJCI Gala – A picture with and introduction to Michael Jordan!
We arrived at the Gala, just after 7:45 pm. This exclusive, invite only, event was the reason we had come to Vegas. Of course we had no clue that Thursday and Friday at the tournament would be so fruitful!
I was dressed in a black suit, with a blue tie and pocket square to match my black and blue low top Jordans. My wife looked amazing, as always, in a Roberto Cavalli sequin dress with velvet appliqué, that caught just the right amount of light.
We walked into the gala filled with hope! After all, the day had already been jaw droppingly staggering.
As we entered the cocktail reception, centered in the room was a man in a white suit on a white oval stage accompanied by a white piano. He stood and performed song after song. On both ends, tapas being served from various restaurants from within the Aria resort. Surrounding the performer, curved, long white sofas making up relaxed group seating. Standing tables, covered in white linen, lined the outer perimeter. Chandeliers accented the room.
Walking about, Toni Kukoc, Dr. J, Ron Harper, Aaron Rodgers, Stuart Scott, Bruce Jenner, Ken Griffey, Jr., Penny Hardaway, Boyz II Men, and the list goes on and on. At one point, Julius Erving was literally sitting four feet from me.
After a little over an hour, the doors opened to the magnicifent main ballroom and in walked Michael Jordan.
Jordan, surrounded by six large security guards, two at his front, two on the side and two behind, stopped to talk with Ahmad Rashad and Dr. J.
Even at this invite only event, it was wild to witness people take their phones out and take pictures of Jordan as he stood there talking. Camera flashes lit up the interaction.
In a room full of celebrities, there was a defined difference in how the Global icon was perceived by those in attendance. Everyone wants a piece of Michael Jordan.
Within the ballroom, were around 100 assigned tables – 10 people per table. Stuart Scott had shared with me a few moments earlier, that no one does an event like MJ and he was right! It was gorgeous!
There were three ways you were at this event. The first, you were a celebrity. Second, you were a major tournament sponsor. Lastly, you were a high roller that the resort had invited.
It just so happened that my table was right in the line of where MJ chose to enter the ballroom.
Standing at the table, I waved at Jordan as he walked into the nearly empty ballroom with his security team. The majority of people, still taking advantage of the open bar, which unbeknownst to them, also extended into the evening festivities as well.
As I waved, there was no real acknowledgement on his part as he quickly made his way to his table, located at the front of the room.
My wife encouraged me to go up to where he was seated, as others were attempting to do, but at that point he was enjoying time with friends and I didn’t feel it was the right time. After all, he had just seen me. My feeling was that if he wanted to stop and talk, he would have. I wasn’t going to pester him.
For me it’s always a fine line to walk, between doing my best to accomplish my goal and being a bother to Michael Jordan.
I personally, NEVER, want to be a nuisance or make him feel uncomfortable.
If hovering by his table as he joked with friends, worked for those attempting to interact with the legend, then good for them. That wasn’t going to be me.
It didn’t end up working for them either. Security had them go back to their seats and the dinner and entertainment portion of the festivities began.
Magician and Comedian Justin Willman, of Cupcake Wars on Food Network, hosted the evening’s event.
After dinner, some jokes and magic tricks, including a funny moment with Jerome Bettis, T-Pain and George Clinton took over the stage.
At this point, I really thought the evening was pretty much over and my opportunity to have time with MJ gone.
I had possessed so much hope for the Gala. I hoped that in this smaller, more “laid back” setting, I would be able to get some time with Jordan and really share my vision.
I guess even I underestimated the drawing power of Michael Jordan.
Life, even in a room full of famous people, just isn’t the same for the G.O.A.T. There really is no down time for MJ, or at least there wouldn’t be without a team of security.
Even though I was disappointed, I could’t be down because of the astonishing events earlier in the day!
MJ had acknowledged the journey and as I stated earlier that was a MAJOR DREAM COME TRUE!
Satisfied with the evening, my wife said lets go up closer to the front. I knew what she really wanted. That was to dance. At the front of the room, a dance floor hugged the stage.
Almost to where the dancing was taking place, I pulled her back and said that I’d really rather not dance. I wasn’t alone when it came to guys not dancing. Just about the only man dancing that night was Juan Pablo from the show, The Bachelor and he’s like a professional! Dude can move! Also have to share, he’s a nice guy. We had ran into he and Nikki at the tournament and then again at the Gala as they were seated at a table just to the left of ours.
Then, at that moment, I looked over and just a few tables away, stood Jeff Jordan.
This is where everything changed.
Jeff Jordan – Family Support
I had never met Jeff Jordan. Not in person any way.
We had connected through Twitter early in my journey, which I even wrote about for this site. There were also a couple of pleasant interactions that followed over the years on Twitter and Instagram. But never in person.
I walked over to Jeff, really not sure how things would go. I just really wanted to say hello and introduce myself.
As T-Pain was performing, I tapped Jeff on the shoulder and he turned right around.
With as much excitement and enthusiasm as you could imagine anyone having, he said that it was so nice to finally meet me!
We talked for literally 10 minutes!
Truly one of the nicest people I’ve met. Extremely humble and positive.
Jeff encouraged me the entire time, saying that he follows everything that I do for the site and loves it! He told me that he thinks it’s amazing to look at where I started and where the journey is today! He asked if there had been any updates thus far from the tournament and I excitedly shared how earlier in the day I had gotten video of his Dad talking about the website and saying that I wouldn’t win, to which he laughed and said that’s awesome! He implored me to keep moving forward on the journey and then took it to another level!
He let me know that he was now working for Brand Jordan.
I asked him if he was able to possibly do something for the site and he said ABSOLUTELY!
Then Jeff BLEW MY MIND!
He told me that he’d love to have me up some time, do a Brand Jordan event and showcase everything!!!
Mind blown, I told him that would be amazing and asked how I could link up with him.
He said, “I’ll give you my number! Do you have your phone with you?”
And with that, I could officially say that I had MAJOR, Jordan family support!
Truly Amazing! Such a blessing!
I thanked Jeff for his time, asked for a picture and told him I look forward to getting together hopefully soon!
Marcus Jordan – Have You Been Introduced To My Dad?
Over the moon, by what had just happened, Charissa and I walked just a bit more before I spotted Marcus Jordan.
Almost a year and a half ago, I had met Marcus at a charity event in Orlando, Florida.
I told my wife, let me go say hello to Marcus and then we can go.
I walked over to the younger MJ, who was facing the stage, tapped him on the shoulder from behind and after turning around, he greeted me with the enthusiasm one might show in seeing a 20-year-long friend, and said, “Hey man! It’s so great to see you!!!!”
Following handshakes, small-talk, laughs and smiles, he inquisitively asked, “Have you been introduced to my Dad, yet??”
After a small – are you serious! – hesitation on my part, I replied, “Um…well, not formally.”
“Let’s Go!,” he encouraged, and away we were, weaving our way through people, behind Marcus on our way to the MJ in mevsMJ.com!
He walked us right up to his Dad, and with so much support said, “Dad, you’ve got to meet this guy!”
Marcus spoke a few more positive things into his Dad’s ear about me as the concert continued, some of which I couldn’t make out. I did hear him mention this website and with that I was standing face to face with the one and only Michael Jeffrey Jordan!
I probably shook MJ’s hand four or five times in the couple of minutes that we shared, haha!
He took it all in stride.
I also was able to ask him his thoughts on the site and let him know how much he’s inspired me in my life.
Each time the taller Jordan, lowered his head to mine so that he could hear me clearly.
So very cordial.
While he played his thoughts on mevsMJ.com close to the chest, I could see the genuine humility in his eyes and expression as he thanked me for the kind words.
I asked him if I could get a picture and he responded, “Sure!”
Marcus then interjected, “I’ll take it!” and I handed him my camera!
And that is how the greatest Michael Jordan picture I’ve ever seen, came to be.
They say a picture says a 1,ooo words – but this one can’t be measured. It’s more than a picture. It gives hope to everyone that sees it.
As we walked back to Marcus’ table, he turned and playfully said, “Don’t say I’ve never done anything for ya!”
We then took a picture together and I thanked him profusely for his extreme act of kindness.
He humbly downplayed it, saying, “No problem!”
The reality of the situation though is that I could never ever receive a warmer or better introduction to Michael Jordan than the one his son, Marcus, had just given me.
He took it upon himself and stopped what he was doing, TO HELP ME!
That amazing act of kindness spoke volumes to me as to how the Jordan family views my journey that is mevsMJ.com.
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
As my wife and I began to walk out of the party, we stopped by Mr. Whitfield’s table and I thanked him again for the kind words and encouragement he had given me earlier in the day.
What an amazing day it had been!
Almost every part of the dream had just come true in the most magnificent, storybook like way!
The eight words that I’ve been telling anyone that will listen, stood up proud and proved true for the World to see!
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
Saturday and Sunday | MJCI – Acceptance
Early Saturday morning, Charissa headed back to Orlando, as she had a prior charitable engagement to attend that night. I stayed through Monday morning and took in the last two days of the MJCI.
Over the two day period of Saturday and Sunday, MJ and I briefly interacted each day.
As my wife had said before she left, the only other thing that could have happened during this amazing trip was that we actually played the game of 1-on-1.
Everything else had occurred.
On one hole Sunday afternoon, MJ walked right by me and said, “What up dog.”
I was now accepted.
The Dream and The Journey
I began this journey having no idea the impact it would have on my life.
How it would change me. How it would grow me.
I suppose that’s the beauty and the purity of it all.
A dream to play my childhood hero, transformed in to a daily walk to inspire people to believe what I believe: Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
Jeff Jordan was right. It is amazing, even for me, to look back at where I started and where I stand today.
It’s also proof that anyone reading this can accomplish whatever they set their mind to, if they believe and work tremendously hard.
I’ve taken a lot of small steps. I’ve fallen down over and over again. I’ve faced more rejection than I would ever want any of you to face.
But I’ve always kept moving forward.
I’ve always felt that if the purpose was pure, in HIS time, it would happen.
In Las Vegas, I didn’t take a major step, I dunked from the free throw line.
None of this would have been possible without the support of my wife, family, friends, and of course Jeff, Marcus and Michael Jordan.
I thank you all for believing in me.
mevsMJ.com…the epic journey continues!
MJCI Photo Gallery
If you’re new here, 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!
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
For more info on my journey to play Michael Jordan:
*Follow me (@KennyEller) on Twitter
*Click here to LIKE and become a mevsMJ.com Fan on Facebook
*Subscribe and get each NEW post I've written emailed directly to you!
*Watch every video on the mevsMJ.com YouTube Channel