The text message illuminated my previously still phone and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.
It was an image.
James R. Jordan, Michael Jordan’s older brother, standing in the tunnel at Time Warner Cable Arena (Home of the Charlotte Hornets), smiling and holding one of my mevsMJ.com shirts.
A grin too large for my face formed and escaped the edges of my cheeks and then the reality of the picture and what it ultimately meant, warmed my heart.
There is no doubt that this world can be cold at times. So much so that large walls are constructed with the hope to keep us safe. Then moments like this burn down those fear built structures and tell us to believe again. Believe in the human spirit. In the goodness of people.
I met Retired First Sergeant of the U.S. Army, Johncarlo Lewis in Charlotte, North Carolina back in July of last year. We had connected on Instagram some months prior and I had announced in late June on IG that I’d be coming to Charlotte to visit. He reached out and said that he’d like to meet and we set up a time.
It still feels wrong to me that he drove nearly an hour to meet me for breakfast. Wrong because I should have been the one driving to meet him.
Johncarlo served 20 years active duty in the armed forces. I can’t explain how honored I felt to sit across from this man and ask him about his life and experiences.
I think he was excited to meet me and talk about my website, but I was equally enthusiastic about spending time with him and understanding more about his life.
Truth poured out of the eyes and energy circled this sturdily built man that led thousands of troops during his time serving our country.
As I listened to his memories, over warm cups of coffee and breakfast fixings, I wondered what it must be like to make such decisions for so many. My mind couldn’t grasp it.
Lewis is now in his 4th year as a High School Army JROTC Instructor and Assistant Wrestling Coach at nearby Hickory High School.
As we ended breakfast, he let me know that he knew Retired Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army and now Executive Vice President of Operations for the Charlotte Hornets, James Jordan.
Jordan served 31 years actively in the United States Army.
Lewis, a tremendous supporter of my journey, told me that he would reach out to Jordan and let him know about my site.
I shook his hand, thanked him, and said goodbye.
Then in late November, Lewis sent me a message and said that his JROTC would be the Color Guard at a Charlotte Hornets basketball game in December and he would at that time present Jordan with one of my shirts.
Excitement jumped on me, but I attempted to keep it contained, knowing the depth of the endeavor that Johncarlo would be attempting.
The Color Guard refers to a detachment of soldiers assigned to the protection of regimental colors. This duty is so prestigious that the color is generally carried by a young officer (Ensign), while experienced non-commissioned officers (Colour sergeants) are assigned to the protection of the flag.
On December 23rd (Jordan numbers), the first Jordan to ever have a mevsMJ.com shirt came across my phone.
The image is spectacular and threw me directly into reflection. What a journey this has been. And while I wont share it just yet, I’m so proud of this image. Proud of who it is, for sure, but more so for what it represents.
This is a Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work journey. It’s also a walk with the greatness of the human spirit.
Lewis, as so many have done for me, took his limited time with his friend Jordan and talked about my website and the bigger purpose behind it.
The selflessness lived in those moments chokes me up.
I’m just this normal guy that grew up inspired by MJ and set out to live a dream and play basketball with the greatest of all time. God changed my focus along the way for sure, but I’m always amazed at the support others give me. Tears soak my eyes when I think about the love people shower on me in attempt to help. Thankful doesn’t do justice to what I feel inside.
Johncarlo said that Jordan received the shirt very well and smiled when he was told that I wanted to play Michael. Jordan told Lewis that he would wear the shirt when he works out and would be sure to check out the website.
How cool is that!?
Now a few weeks later, I’m left to wonder what Mr. Jordan thinks about this website? I wonder if he called his brother on the phone or walked down to his office and told him about this shirt that found its way into his hands with the MJ initials on it. I wonder if he asked him, Why haven’t you played this guy yet?
I know I’d ask my brother.
There is something very special about the Jordan family that far exceeds anything to do with basketball. I’m still amazed at the humility and kindness of Jeffrey, Marcus, Michael and now James – given how different life must be for them.
No, Michael Jordan has not played me yet, but I have come to understand that the path of this journey is God’s plan. I don’t try to make sense of it, I just try to stay obedient.
Thank you Mr. Jordan. Thank you Mr. Lewis.
As always thank you for all of your love and support. Each of you, like Johncarlo, amaze me! If there is anything I can do to help you on your journey or in your life, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are one family.
mevsMJ.com – the journey continues.
A very special thank you to my friend Johncarlo Lewis. Thank you for all that you have done with your life and for your tremendous support and encouragement. I greatly appreciate you!
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