Article Thumbnail

The Joy of Introducing Your Kids to Michael Jordan in Quarantine

Do the six-time champion Bulls still look like kings to a generation raised on LeBron and Steph?

Logan is a quarantined 16-year-old in Chicago. He was 4 when Derrick Rose won NBA Rookie of the Year and the Bulls started to look promising for the first time since the Jordan era, and 10 when Rose blew out his knee and that dream went to shit. 

Logan considers himself a Bulls fan, but he admits that he follows the league closer than he does his home team. He even offers this bit of sacrilege: “If I’m being honest, I always sided with LeBron being the GOAT, even though I’m a Chicago kid.” In his defense, he’d never been able to sit through the grainy highlights of Michael Jordan on YouTube. He didn’t know much more about the dynasty years. He just knew the team was considered “some of the best.”

But that all changed when the NBA suspended its current season due to coronavirus. After a month of being stuck inside, Logan decided “it was finally time to sit down and watch games and documentaries on the best teams in Bulls history.” 

“I felt like a fake fan,” he tells me. “So I hopped on YouTube, searched Michael Jordan, and sure enough, I came across hundreds of his games and highlights. I always had trouble staying entertained when I tried to watch older games before, because the graphics were very old and annoying. But now, if anything, it feels very retro, and I really enjoy them.” 

Though Logan taught himself a few NBA history lessons, dads across the country are dialing up classic games of yesteryear to watch with their kids. Not unlike The Giver, older generations see this as an opportunity to pass on the pain of a devastating loss to a bitter rival, or simply make sure the youths respect their elders.

“Since the NBA season is suspended, I thought it’d be fun to show my kids some old Jordan games,” writes fammo5, who posts in the Chicago Bulls subreddit. “I’d really like them to appreciate his dominance.” 

Meanwhile, Matt, a 33-year-old father of two boys (ages 7 and 5), puts it this way: “I can’t imagine they would have sat through a Lakers game from 2002 if the current season was ongoing, so the best I could do is tell them how good Kobe was. And even then, they’ve seen LeBron, they’ve seen Steph Curry.” Still, he wanted them to see Kobe and Jordan, too, and Jordan in particular. Matt, who grew up a huge Bulls fan, watched Jordan play with his own dad. “Watching Jordan with them reminds me of sitting with my dad, and it feels like I’m passing sacred knowledge down to a new generation,” he continues. “Of course, so far they’ve only been able to sit through the first half of one game. But it’s been a cool experience to have in what’s been a pretty chaotic few weeks.”  

He’ll be happy to learn that for Logan at least, it didn’t take long before he started to emerge with a new appreciation for the ghosts of NBA past. “Up until about a week or two ago, I was completely unaware of the Bulls-Knicks rivalry. I always thought they were going head-to-head with the Celtics and Pistons every year,” he tells me. “And my God, the shots Jordan hit. I’d never seen anything like it. After one game I knew I’d been wrong all these years.”

“Maybe it was the fact I haven’t watched many older games, but it was a different league,” he adds. “I’ve been watching the championship DVDs on YouTube year-by-year, and Golden State’s 73-9 team stands no chance against those Bulls teams. My respect for everyone on them is much higher now than I ever thought it would be.” 

Needless to say, his allegiance to LeBron has changed too. “Sure, LeBron may have talent and be the better all-around player, but no one other than maybe Kobe has the absolute killer instinct and the ability to take over games like Michael,” he tells me. “I didn’t truly realize the absolute domination that Jordan had over the game. Michael Jeffery Jordan is the undisputed GOAT.” 

It’s left such an impression that it’s something he’ll now be sure to share with his own kids someday.

The Best Stuff to Binge in Quarantine