Thursday, 25 June 2015
#TheJordanSeries Feature-THE DIRTY DOZEN
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
23 is almost iconic as a number as the name Michael Jordan is itself. As iconic and as synonymous to the greatest of all time himself as the Windy City of Chicago, the Bulls franchise and it's white hot, seeing red uniforms. Not to mention of course the Air Jordan's on his feet. Sure, it's not all about the outfit...or even the shoes (sorry Mars), but if you're an emperor you have to have clothes. And Mike wears the number like no other. Before him or after. Sorry King...but we love your homage representation. The NBA just may as well retire it across the league like Baseball did for Jackie Robinson. Although having the number 42 as the sole number retired across the board in a sport carries so much more moving meaning for just what Jackie meant to not only athletes and African-American ones, but to African-Americans and any other race as a whole. Speaking of the forties one of the NBA's top 50 may have left his but the number 45 still means something to the legacy lexicon of the legend of 23. Michael wore the 4-5 for the Bulls when he came back to the league after Money's stint in the sticks, when basketball's greatest tried his hand and swing at baseball. Wearing the number 45 and rounding bases for the love of his tragically and dearly departed dad. The number 45 is cult-considered among hoop and eBay auction purists as Michael Jordan's other number. Still thrift shop and court connoisseurs need to familiarize themselves with another number, rarer and somewhat forgotten. As sweet sounding as Jamie Foxx's 'Dozen Roses' L.P., here's 12 reasons why that very number is another collectible symbol of the Jerry West logo leagues most iconic character.
1. In a throwback testimony sport and legacy laced league that holds so much value for rare collectible commodities, the greatest basketball player of all-time wore this jersey for one, sole game only.
2. "Sole" that's reminds us of other one-off signatures in this legends line. Like those special sneakers that exist in epic exclusivity due to their one-night only showcasing. Like his rookie card, here is something else Jordan fans want to get their hands on.
3. This one game that the calender year number of 12 was worn on for all you basketball lovers, was on the 14th February...Valentines Day.
4. For you fond of anniversary's that was 25 years ago. Sure not 23...but a quarter of a century.
5. And for the statisticians, number 23...sorry 12's line read 49 points in 47 minutes. Although his Bulls lost in overtime 135-129.
6. But a loss or one point off 50 still doesn't stop this from being one of Michael Jordan's greatest point performances. More than just another outing footnote in his league leading year of a 33.6 average over 82 games.
7. Now for all you historians out there, this was a road game against the Orlando Magic in Florida.
8. Game geeks take sidebar story note that this was the Magic franchises rookie season in the league after Orlando pulled them out of the hat. Bonus, this was the first season for some coach called Phil too.
9. Orlando, Florida is key to the reason this number was employed. The legend of rumor has it that Michael Jordan's iconic number 23 was stolen on Gameday on the road before Mike got the chance to rock it out the gym bag. Now someone look up the all-grown up kid who stole Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game ball. There's a purist out there that collect points that others make for his own trophy room.
10. Fans in turn where searched. No not for said jersey, but bizarrely another number 23 that would fit Mike. It obviously says a lot for Mike that so many in attendance available wore his jersey in the stands (obviously), but kind of doesn't for his fans who didn't match the greatest athlete's body-type (and this was before the Mitchell & Ness hip-hop, triple X over-sizing trend too). How Marvin Gaye loving sweet would it have been however to be the fan lucky and fitted (some kid...KID came close) enough to be the one to have Mike wear their jersey. I'm sure if this would have been the case an autographed thank you would have been in order.
11. Thankfully though in case of a glass breaking emergency, the Bulls had a nameless number 12 on hand which makes this story complete and gives you a sweet looking jersey in the style of those old Milwaukee Bucks jerseys. So legendary (you can see from the dear, stag uniform update this offseason) that even Oscar Robertson or the name Abdul-Jabbar didn't adorn the backs of some of the NBA's frontline players.
12. “That has never happened to me before,'' Michael Jordan told press postgame of what was treated as more than just something for the infamous superstitious player. The rest remains a mystery, which in turn is why this story is still being told today in another chapter of a career where every chance moment is a collectible one.
Add that all up and that's a dozen Easter Egg reasons why the number 12 is as significant a side-story as the number 45 to the final box-score reading of the Chicago Bulls' 23.