Those of us who grew up going to wildly overpriced basketball camps (remember Five Star? What a racket!) often heard the inspiring and–ahem–comforting tale that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in the world, was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. Great story–except it’s not technically true.
This is disheartening news for those of us who found solace in this anecdote, perhaps the only point of athletic commonality we shared with one Mr. Jordan. (Photo: Charlotte Observer)
So there you go. Get a look at the early Jordan in the fun and well-researched piece. The guy was so competitive, he outran other kids to the dugout on water breaks. That, friends, is dedication. Of course, this same competitive fire drove him throughout all of his life, sometimes to bad ends, as Michael Leahy’s exceptional When Nothing Else Matters abundantly shows.
Ruby Sutton has a distinct pet peeve when it comes to the subject of her former pupil, Michael Jordan: the oft-told story of how he was “cut” from the Laney High varsity basketball team as a sophomore, spurring him to greatness.
“Back then, (most) 10th-graders played JV; that’s just the way it was. Nobody ever ‘cut’ Michael Jordan,” Sutton, who still teaches physical education, said this month, shaking her head as she retold the story for at least the 100th time.
That’s the final word. You can never propagate the apocryphal tale that Jordan was cut again. This likely affects your own life very little; it does, however, wreak havoc on half-winded summer basketball camp pep talks all across the world.