There will never be another Michael Jordan. Not even through genetics.
Just ask his son, Marcus, who would be a senior guard at UCF this upcoming season if he decides to return. He admitted on Twitter in 2010 that his dad is one of a kind.
“NO ONE…And I mean NO ONE should EVER compare Kobe Bryant to my dad and say that he is anywhere near close to my dad,” the younger Jordan wrote during the time Bryant closed in on his fifth NBA title.
We already know that the slew of supposed next tongue-waggers were nothing more than pretenders. Harold Miner was never more than a dunker, Vince Carter lacked the killer instinct and Grant Hill had injuries steal away the formative part of his career.
Bryant and LeBron James, no matter how many titles they win, will never be Jordan, either.
But it’s Jordan’s youngest son who has the gift of being passed along MJ’s basketball genes – seemingly allowing him a head start when he stepped on the hardwood. But that gift can be more of a curse.
With his relation to the G.O.A.T. comes the instant celebrity, money and fame, which are three things that can only get in the way of a college athlete. Take the 2010 tweet from Marcus – underage at the time – revealing that he was partying and gambling in Las Vegas while there for his father’s basketball camp.
Marcus can hit the Vegas circuit all he wants like his dad but will never fill His Airness’ basketball shoes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
For success, Marcus must focus on what’s best for him in relation to realistic expectations.
If it’s basketball that Marcus wants to pursue after college – and all signs point to his love and connection with the game – two seasons of double-figure scoring averages (15.2 in 2010-11 and 13.7 last season) make it very possible that he could be a second-round pick in 2013 NBA Draft.
Not MJ at third overall in ’84, but who cares?
However, NBADraft.net doesn’t list him in its 2013 mock draft, perhaps because of young Jordan’s uncertain future. He has had some recent off-court distractions, which may wrongly lead him either out of UCF or away from the game by choice.
The Associated Press reported last Monday that young Jordan was arrested for disorderly conduct after an argument with two women at the Embassy Suites hotel in Omaha, NE. According to the report, Jordan was “very animated, intoxicated and uncooperative” as it took multiple officers to bring him into custody.
That came a little more than a month after Jordan suggested that he was the victim of a Twitter hacker. A tweet from Jordan’s account was directed at Rachel Roxxx, whom a report from jockular.com described as a porn star. The tweet subsequently was deleted with Marcus providing the following:
“Lol everybody that knows me knows I would never send an ‘Accidental’ tweet like that.. Whoever it was, nice prank tho. #CmonSon #KeepItMovin”
At the risk of providing the canned columnist response here, I’ll go ahead and write it anyway: None of this would ever happen to Michael Jordan. But not for the reasons one may think.
We’ve heard the characterizations of the elder Jordan as a famous party animal, and we know that MJ didn’t have the chance to be exposed by Twitter in his younger days as a star guard at North Carolina.
But as great as MJ was with a basketball, he also should be recognized as a publicist’s star client. Heck, even Jordan’s supposed penchant for gambling has been a footnote – part of Jordan’s persona as the ultimate competitor.
Jordan appeals to more people than Fourth of July weekend, even if that corporate polish has been the target of critics over the years who wanted Jordan to take on more political stances.
That’s not Jordan – and neither is the negative publicity that recently has come with Marcus’ reported arrest.
But while Jordan’s eldest son, Jeff, left UCF before is career was over, it wouldn’t be a prudent move for Marcus to do the same. Marcus has said over the years that he’s proud to be MJ’s son and even enjoys playing the game that his father mastered.
Why, then, not take the truest path to fulfilling his potential on the court, which will set up his own niche off it?
Marcus, play your senior season at UCF and take on the load of being its best player during a season in which the Knights could go to the NCAA tournament. And do some MJ-like PR while you’re at it.
The life of a European or NBA undrafted free agent can wait. And so can business opportunities, even if his privilege means he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.
Before that, though, Marcus should learn from his father and not pull the plug on a hoops career before it’s time.
For the one and only college basketball experience, there are no comebacks if he decides to go pro prematurely or delve into another profession and leave basketball behind for too long.
In that sense, maybe it’s best that Marcus isn’t the second coming.
Anthony Olivieri is the managing editor of LostLettermen.com. His column appears each week.