We recently covered the opening of a health clinic in Charlotte, fully sponsored by the Michael Jordan Family Foundation. We don’t get to see MJ emotional in public a lot, so this was a rare moment to see how much helping those in need means to him.
So how come it seems stars from this era are much more socially engaged than ever before? In the age of social media, self-promotion has a different connotation. It’s not bragging and arrogant; it’s building your brand and talking to your fans. If you just had to guess it, you’d probably say stars of this era do much more compared to the 90s or earlier. That guess would be wrong.
In 1983, a young boy named Dave Rothenberg was set on fire by his father during a custody battle between his parents. With sever burns to over 90% of his body, he miraculously survived. As the tragic news made national headlines, it was revealed the boy was a Bulls fan. After a long recovery, he got to meet his idol. Here’s an excerpt from “Michael Jordan; The Life”, 2014 book by Roland Lazenby.
“Jordan fought to keep his self-indulgence private as well as the burdens he chose to bear beyond the game. “I thought in the early days, he was doing so much, it was unbelievable,” Bach recalled. “He always visited with some person or child who had a last wish. He never turned anyone down. Every night he faced that, and I could never understand how he was strong enough to do it. Kids that were burned, brutalized, and dying by disease or something else. I can still remember he saw a kid who was brought in whose father had burned his face off him**. They brought him in, and Michael talked to him in that old dressing room we had in Chicago Stadium before the game. He just talked to him. You couldn’t imagine, a kid that was hideously burned. And Michael just talked to him. He put him on the bench, and during the game he would come over and ask, ‘How’d you like that jump shot?’ One of the officials came over and said, ‘Michael, you can’t have that kid on the bench. It’s against league rules.’ And Michael looked at him and said, ‘He’s on the bench.’ He left our team time-outs to talk to the kid. I can remember John Paxson and I having tears in our eyes, looking at that scene, because the kid was so hideously burned. And here’s Michael talking to him. So he had that greatness in him. It brought out scenes like that. That was repeated many times. He was a wonder man.”**”
The people from Bulls organization remembered how much Michael did for fans and kids. He only had one rule about it – no publicity. No press were to be involved—the good old days.