There has been a fair amount of disappointment, if not disgust, around town that Michael Jordan would put so much effort into a lawsuit over grocery store coupons.
Why would someone worth an estimated $1 billion care that now-defunct Dominick’s used his name in a magazine ad without permission?
The people who are asking that question apparently haven’t paid attention to a man who is driven by the slightest of slights. They might want to go back and listen to his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech, in which he recited every perceived injustice except who borrowed his blankie without asking when he was two months out of the womb.
In that speech, he called out former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause for allegedly saying that organizations, not players, win championships. Krause has denied ever uttering such a thing, but Jordan didn’t want to hear it.
“Jerry’s not here,” he said that night in Springfield, Mass. “I don’t know who’d invite him. I didn’t. I hope he understands it goes a long way. He’s a very competitive person. I was a very competitive person. He said organizations win championships. I said, ‘I didn’t see organizations playing with the flu in Utah. I didn’t see it playing with a bad ankle.’ ’’
He mentioned all the people whose insults, real or imagined, had motivated him, among them Dean Smith, Isiah Thomas, George Gervin, Magic Johnson, Pat Riley and Jerry Reinsdorf. And don’t forget Bryon Russell, on whom Jordan scored the title-winning jumper in 1998.
“I was in Chicago in 1994 … and at this time I had no thoughts of coming back and playing the game of basketball,” Jordan said. “Bryon Russell came over to me and said, ‘Why’d you quit? You know I could guard you. If I ever see you in a pair of shorts … ‘
“When I did come back in 1995 and we played Utah in ’96, I’m at the center circle and Bryon Russell is standing next to me. I said, ‘You remember the [comments] you made in 1994 about, ‘I think I can guard you, I can shut you down, I would love to play against you? Well, you’re about to get your chance.’ ”
So some silly Dominick’s ad congratulating him on his Hall of Fame induction? To Jordan, that’s a declaration of war. When jurors awarded him $8.9 million Friday, it was clear he had won again.