When Michael Jordan is inducted to the Hall of Fame tomorrow (September 11), he’ll have one man to thank–not Coach Phil Jackson, sidekick Scottie Pippen or any of his pedestrian role players (sorry Bill Cartwright). Nope, MJ should look no further than Leroy Smith, the man who swiped the coveted, final spot on Mike’s high school basketball team, leaving Michael watching from the sidelines.
In an elaborate, viral marketing campaign, Nike is playing off His Airness famously being cut from making the Laney High School varsity squad during his sophomore year. The swoosh company enlisted Charlie Murphy to portray Air 23’s high school bud, characterizing him as Mike’s attention-seeking source of determination.
Check this side-splitting music video–voiced by Ryan Leslie–for “My Gift To The Game,” and next time you lace up your Air Jordans, think about the man who made it all possible. Sike. –John Kennedy