Thursday, December 15, 2011

Classic card of the week


Michael Jordan, 1990 NBA HOOPS/Inside Stuff

Here is an exciting basketball card featuring Michael Jordan standing around in front of a camera. This card is part of NBA HOOPS cards collaboration with NBA Inside Stuff, which was a television show that aired on Saturday mornings after Saved by the Bell and Hang Time, a realistic show about a co-ed high school basketball team that played its games in a gym the size of a utility closet. The basketball court from Hang Time made the basketball court from The Fresh Prince look like a football field. I watched too much television as a child.

As amazing as this sounds now, with the exception of daily highlights on CNN Sports or ESPN, Inside Stuff was essentially the sole link between the NBA and its young fans. Mostly it consisted of host Ahmad Rashad conducting “interviews” through which he asked softball questions and laughed hysterically at the players’ responses. But there were some in-depth features. I remember one episode in which the show followed Shawn Bradley to a restaurant, as he explained how he needed to gain weight, and we then watched him eat an entire turkey club even after he was already full. Riveting.

But Ahmad Rashad was at his best when it came to Jordan, with whom he was downright smitten. And really, who can blame him? I think the most difficult question Rashad ever asked Jordan was, “What does it feel like to fly?” It seemed like Jordan was featured every week, and relative to his dominance of the league which the show “covered,” I had no problem with that.



Want a sneak preview of Michael Jordan’s new home video?

That this question isn’t immediately followed by, “Then visit, www.youtube.com/Jordan_home_vid,” is a harsh reminder that this is 1990 we’re dealing with here. This—this piece of cardboard—IS the sneak preview. Also, before we read on, I highly doubt this is a “home video,” unless Jordan does actually have a graffiti-filled asphalt court with an absurdly dirty backboard in his home. Besides, knowing now what we’ve come to learn about Michael Jordan, I’d rather not see a leaked home video of gambling-related domestic arguments.

NBA HOOPS takes you behind the scenes.

You showed me a picture from literally behind the camera as this video was being shot, so yeah, I guess you have. I look forward to obtaining the VHS copy of this video, and then using this card for additional reference in case I become confused at any point during the viewing.

“Michael Jordan’s Playground” is not a typical sports video; it goes beyond interviews, film clips and features. It’s Michael in his first appearance as an actor!

Oh, so it’s going to be one of those videos that is … horrible. I take back my sarcasm re: the importance of this sneak preview.

The story revolves around a kid who gets cut from his high school basketball team and begins to give up on himself. Michael Jordan appears in a vision

!!!

to encourage the boy to keep on trying.


For someone who watched “Come Fly With Me” approximately 8,457 times, I myself am amazed I have never seen this. But I imagine the pivotal scene plays out at follows:

Boy in bed, tossing and turning, can’t sleep due to anxiety of giving up on his dreams. Suddenly, above his bed appears a cloudy vision of Michael Jordan dressed in street clothes and holding a basketball.

Jordan: Wake up, Billy. It’s me, Michael Jordan.

Billy: (rubbing eyes) Whoa, Michael Jordan?! Are you dead?

Jordan: What?! Pfft. No, I’m not dead, dumbass. I’m just appearing as a vision because it’d be super weird if I physically walked into a young boy’s bedroom who I don’t even know while he was sleeping in order to console him.

Billy: Oh.

Jordan: Anyway, Billy, listen—I understand you were cut from the team and you’re thinking of giving up. But let me tell you a story. I once knew a kid who was also cut from his high school basketball team, but he didn’t give up, and worked hard every day, and eventually he set the league on fire and dunked on the heads of all the haters who ever doubted him and—dang, I’ma rain blows on Detroit this year, I swear …

Billy: …

Jordan: It was me, Billy. Damn, do I have to spell it out for you? The boy was me. Anyway, (squinting to read cue cards) keep working hard and … don’t give up, and uh, one day you’ll be in the NBA or a scientist or something.

Billy: Thanks, Mr. Jordan!

Jordan: Oh, and meet me on the playground tomorrow. I’ll be there in my physical form and I’ll let you beat me off the dribble ONCE so you can impress your friends. But after that I will dominate you and I will shred any lasting hope you have ever had of playing bask—I’m sorry. Just meet me there, okay?

“Playground” also features an MTV-style music video starring Air Jordan.

First, I can only imagine how awesomely awful the accompanying music video is to “Michael Jordan’s Playground.” Second, I thoroughly enjoy the gratuitous MTV name drop so as to appeal to the kids. Third, that wouldn’t have helped someone like me, who wasn’t allowed to watch MTV. Fourth, because I watched it anyway, I imagine the MTV-style music video that went with this film featured Air Jordan, pointy bras, Alicia Silverstone, MC Skat Cat, and several spandex-clad dancers.

Seriously though, if anyone has this video, please call me.

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