Your faithful Film Scout went to the Michael Jordan press conference prepared
to witness another epic ego of the entertainment biz - and surprise! It
was Michael Jordan, who is almost as charmingly human as Bugs Bunny. And
you know how much we like Bugs.
Jordan admitted to liking Bugs himself: "I'm a lot like Bugs. Even
if I fail, I think I win." (Presumably that referred to his brief
career as a baseball player.)
We asked him how he approached the task of acting. (Face it, enough actors
treat the task like a free-throw that there's no reason for Jordan to find
it all that daunting.) Still, he gave credit to actor Stan Shaw for coming
around to give him pointers. And, "It helped that I got a chance to
play myself....No, I haven't had any other offers....I don't mind playing
a hero. I can't see myself as a villain. I smile too much."
A deep-throated WNBC reporter posed the pretentious question: "Michael,
do you ever wake up in the morning and ask yourself, Can this really be
my life?" Jordan twisted his smile around and put the guy in his place:
"Yeah. This morning."
What actors does Jordan admire? "Sidney Poitier a lot, always. And
Bill Cosby - and Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, and I don't
have enough time to name them all." As to his entering show-biz, "I'm
willing to take some time to learn everything I can about the film business."
He has a lot of friends there, and a lot of them frequented the set of "Space
Jam," in order to keep Michael company, because Bugs and the Warner
Bros. cartoon folk couldn't be around for the shoot.
Of all the actors who came on the set to play b-ball with Jordan, he pointed
to Damon Wayans as the best ballplayer.
Asked about his enormous impact as a role model for kids, Jordan admits,
"I take being a role model very seriously. Kids have a sense of truth
about them. You can't fool them. As long as I feel good about what I'm
doing, it doesn't make any difference if people know about it. But the
kids have a lot to do with the admiration and respect I enjoy, and I owe
them some admiration and respect back."
In spite of his accessibility to the kids, Jordan claims, "I'm not
afraid of going back to normal life....There's a heavy price to be in the
public eye - to know everything you do is magnified out of proportion."
With the diplomacy that makes him such a nice guy when, in fact, he wants
to get away from all these people who are going to magnify him, he says,
"Look, I don't want to take too much of you guys' time."
The final question is about his message to kids who want to be like Mike.
"Be better than Mike," is his answer. "Enjoy life. Success
isn't something you chase, it's given to you for your work - hard work."
The very successful "Mike" Jordan then smiles shyly, rises from
the folding chair where he's been sitting for 50 minutes on the hot seat
and straightens his black Nehru jacket and strolls slowly off the dais.
Again, he's won - in a battle of wits between one player and some 60 journalist-players
who will go back and be Monday-morning quarterbacks of the movie biz.