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Michael Jordan may be the greatest basketball player of all time. But he might be even more impressive off the court.
On the “Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective,” Andscape’s Marc J. Spears described an impromptu trip to the Kentucky Derby that showed how Jordan could make magic even without a basketball — although, he worried that Jordan “might get mad at me for telling this story.”
According to Spears, Jordan spontaneously decided on the day of the Kentucky Derby that he wanted to attend the big race, and he brought some of his Hornets employees with him. MJ flew his Carolina blue private jet to Louisville, and halfway through the trip, the employees realized Jordan didn’t have tickets to the event. Not a problem for His Airness.
Jordan casually called the Louisville airport to request a police escort, which he received, because he’s Michael Jordan. They drove to Churchill Downs, got to the Derby, where Jordan’s assistant walked to the ticket counter and requested a suite at the center of the track.
The man at the Derby apologized, but explained that the race was sold out, and had been sold out for some time. Then, Jordan himself approached. And everything changed.
According to Spears, “Like a god, Michael Jordan walked up, The guy at the VIP realized, ‘Oh my goodness, this is Michael Jordan. This wasn’t a joke.’ Michael casually asked, ‘Is there anything you can do?'”
Things happened fast. “Next thing you know, some suite…everybody got pushed out of the suite. They brought in new food, new drinks, and he got the suite he wanted,” Spears recounted. “I don’t think he even paid for it!”
Spears contends that’s the perfect example of how Michael Jordan exists on a different level, even compared to other superstar athletes. “That’s how powerful Jordan is,” Spears explained. “Y’all can say what you want about LeBron, Messi, all these folks. Jordan went to the Kentucky Derby with no tickets, no suite, no nothing, and he got it (a really nice suite).” For free. (He may have paid for the alcohol. Maybe.)
As far as we can tell, Jordan has no connection to horse racing at all, but he’s so famous and powerful, it doesn’t matter. People will accommodate him everywhere. Whether it’s the Run For The Roses, golf courses, Las Vegas or making a surprise appearance at the NBA’s 75 Greatest Players ceremony, there’s simply no athlete with the presence and aura of Michael Jordan. That’s why it doesn’t matter how many points or rings LeBron James manages to amass: The public has already chosen their G.O.A.T.