There’s something about Michael Jordan, an aura he exudes, that very few public figures can match. It goes beyond the game of basketball. It even goes beyond his celebrity status. There’s just something about MJ.
Idolatry is the closest word to describe it. Especially within the NBA community – Jordan’s stature is God-like. That’s why for an NBA player, nothing comes close to shaking his hand for the first time. Those who had that honor will all say the same thing – getting starstruck doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Zion Williamson recently had that honor. He got to meet Michael at 19, after participating in his first NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Their interaction left Zion in awe.
When I met him for the very first time, I was at the All-Star Weekend my rookie year, and it was at his Jordan Brand party. You can’t describe that feeling you get. It’s one of those, ‘That’s him.’ And he don’t even play no more. You’re like, ‘That’s him. That’s the guy.’Zion Williamson, Club Shay Shay
To paint a picture of how he really felt at that moment, Zion did what LeBron James had done talking about meeting MJ for the first time – he described it as a religious experience.
Larry Bird did the same thing after Jordan had dropped 63 on the Celtics in ’86, describing Mike as ‘God disguised as Michael Jordan.’ Allen Iverson did it talking about MJ’s mentorship, calling him ‘Black Jesus.’ Even Jordan once referred to himself as ‘Black Jesus‘ after dominating Reggie Miller in an exhibition game.
That’s an aura MJ exudes. Whether he’s setting a single-game Playoff record in scoring or smoking his cigar during the post-All-Star Game Jordan Brand party in Chicago, talking to the 19-year-old rookie sensation, his presence is unmatched.