It seems as if Liz and I were destined to be friends. Our paths crossed a few times at athletic events as kids, but it wasn't until we started high school together, that we truly became friends. Everyone who knows Liz, knows that there is no one else like her. She is hilarious, full of energy, creative, a great writer, the life of the party, thoughtful, a great friend, and hands down, the best conversationalist I have ever met. For those who don't know Liz well, they only see one side of her: basketball all-star. There is so much more to her and I am so lucky to call her a friend, neighbor, bridesmaid, teammate, and inspiration.
We have shared many high school, college, post-college, co-ed league championship, and travel memories. We are so lucky because our friendship is rooted in a deep respect for one another. I really cherish the time I spend with her. A lot of weird stuff happens to the two of us and we're always the first one each other calls, laughing hysterically.
Every single person that meets Liz, falls in love with her. She is so much fun to be around and always brings people together. I asked her to share her basketball knowledge and school us all on Michael Jordan and his perfect 10 pairs. I am honored and delighted to share Liz's guest post on Jordans.
Childhood – for many young girls it consists of dolls, high-heels, tea parties, and pink-- all great things, don’t get me wrong. However, the tough thing about that list for me was all of those things are fragile and breakable…..plus pink looks horrible on me.
See, I had a problem. I ran everywhere, got into everything and barely stopped to put a band-aid on. From a young age, sports were the love of my life. I recently looked back at my childhood journals, that my teacher made us write in after lunch, to see the only thing I wrote about was the basketball and kickball. Every day. There were also no spaces in between words - like I said, sports were my strong suit. All that aside, I was one of the luckiest basketball kids around. Why? Because I got to be a part of the generation that grew up with Michael Jordan. I was too young to remember the harder, beginner days of the battles against the Detroit Pistons. When I was old enough to watch and start to understand the game I had one shooting guard to admire and study.
At a young age, I made sure to catch all the Bull’s games on TV and followed Jordan in the news. I named everything after him. So much so that when I talked my mom into letting me keep the two classroom mice from my school she said I couldn’t name them both Michael Jordan. Naturally, I went with the next option: Michael Jordan and Mrs. Jordan.
I had some Nike apparel that I would wear because I saw him wear it once. For a long time with players in the NBA, the idea of the jersey came as a huge way to rep your favorite player. That changed in 1984, Michael Jordan’s rookie season, when he wore the Air Jordan I’s. His first shoes ever were outlawed by the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, because there was no white in the original. He was fined $5,000 for wearing them every time he stepped onto the court. Guess what? He still did it every game. This caused a perception of an “outlaw” type attitude and Nike would later say it strengthened the reputation that his shoes brought their own game.
Nike and the Jordan brand then went on to make a new Jordan model of shoe every year.
My first purchase didn’t happen until I was in the second grade. My mom took me to the shoe shop in Laurel Village where they had the Jordan VII’s in the display window. I was a size 2 in shoes and begged her for them. This was in 1992 and right in the midst of the reign of the DREAM TEAM! I had been watching Michael Jordan not only dominate on the TV with the Bulls, but I was also enamored with the Dream Teams domination of the Barcelona Olympics.
Guess what? My mom bought them for me. She didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that would go on for 20 years. It also began our negotiation skills together. That was one of the first purchases to me that meant something. I literally wore them around the house all weekend and kept them in their box. Opening it up every once in a while to see my treasure. I have never strutted a pair of shoes so much in my life.
My shoe size grew fast, even though I remained very short. The next time my mom took me to the store I “needed” the Jordan 11’s, but they were $100. For a sixth grader who couldn’t remember to bring her jacket home from school or still not put holes in her jeans, that was a lot of moola. But my mom started seeing these as an investment. I had switched from soccer to basketball as my main sport. I was clocking in 6 hours of practice and games a week. I think in her mind I earned them. Just like in life the shoe became an investment. Enter in my most favorite pair of Michael Jordan’s ever:
Overall, Jordan’s represent the icon that is Michael Jordan. Like a red sole means a Louboutin or the CC represents the legendary Coco Chanel. The little man with the huge leap represents the greatest player in the game. To me it represents a person who combined passion and profession. Never giving up to the point of obsession, someone who put up 45 points in a playoff game the day he had a 101 temperature, someone who had the confidence to take the last shot. Everytime. Our role models inspire us and at the same time, if we have something that is a part of them, we ultimately steal a little of their juju. We maybe start to embody the confidence that we too can get it done like they did.
A month ago, I grew up and bought my first adult pair of Jordan’s. I still play basketball and searched for perfect shoes. There were just so many different shoes that just never felt right. Too heavy. No support. No flexibility. I was fed up with it and decided to once again make an investment. Did it break the bank? Sure. But once I put them on, there was no taking them off. I felt like I had put socks on my feet with soles. I was ready. That night as I walked out of my game having played pretty well, the ref stopped me and said “Girl, you can sure fly!” I looked at my shoes and answered “It’s the Jordan’s”. Thanks Mike.