Game on: When Jordan flew without wings
We’ve all heard of Icarus, the man who tried to fly; he flew too high and came crashing down. This story is probably the worst I’ve ever heard. It would have taught me to not believe; that we shouldn’t push ourselves hard enough and shouldn't dream of doing the ‘impossible’.
Luckily, early in my life, I also encountered another story.
A true story - one that took my breath away.
This was the modern Icarus and he did not crash.
I became interested in basketball at a very young age and fell in love with it after watching the premium basketball league called the NBA. It was while watching the annual NBA dunking contest that I felt inspired for life.
Two men were going head to head, each upping the other with spectacular aerobic dunking that was driving the crowd wild. With both tied closely on points, one of them decided it was time to up the game and, well, fly.
He marked his spot–15 feet away from the basket, as I sat wondering what he was doing. He strolled to the other side of the court to gain a big run up, turned around, paused and then started the run to his goal.
I was still unsure about what this man was planning to do.
While I, unfortunately, did not get to watch this live, I’m sure for everyone in the audience, time must have stood still as it did for me while I sat glued to my television screen. A part of me was incredulous, stunned, at the prospect of him even trying to attempt think dunk.
He was so close to winning, why did he want to risk this?, I thought.
Yet he did.
This man took off from his mark, flew for 15 feet in length and slammed the ball into the net that stood at ten feet off the ground and followed it with a casual landing – as if it was something we humans could do as easily.
My jaw hit the floor.
The crowd was shocked for a second before erupting into a loud acknowledgement of one of the greatest feats ever achieved by anyone. I was smiling from ear to ear, my young mind not understanding the impact this would have on my own life. I felt great and I cheered. I continued to cheer and shout as he was awarded points – a perfect 50.
We knew he had won!
When I look back at it now, I know that for that brief moment in time, this man flew. In that small amount of time, he defied gravity and majestically hung in the air.
Whenever I watch replays in slow motion I notice how he seems to go higher on his trajectory and almost kicks himself up a notch to get to the rim. I’ve never seen a sporting moment as great as this; when a man decided to take on the elements so gracefully and so dismissively.
And every time I watch it, I tell myself that we can do anything we want. Nothing is impossible.
His Airness, Michael Jordan taught us that.
Read more by Salman here or follow him on Twitter @salmanzq
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