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Bob Haynie: Michael Jordan Is Turning 50; Can We Get A Recount?

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1057topper Bob Haynie: Michael Jordan Is Turning 50; Can We Get A Recount?
Copyright 1981 NBAE (Photo by Jerry Wachter/NBAE via Getty Images)

Copyright 1981 NBAE (Photo by Jerry Wachter/NBAE via Getty Images)

Where has the time gone? Is it really 2013? It seems like only yesterday that Ronald Reagan was running our country and Earl Weaver was managing the Orioles.

Man, we’re getting up there. Truth be told, I’ve been feeling old since I hurt my back in 1992. You can imagine how I feel now at the age of 48.

Something is happening this coming Sunday that will really make all us feel like we are approaching geezer status.

Michael Jeffrey Jordan is turning 50.

Hard to believe isn’t it? The greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of this planet, is hitting the half-century mark.

Everyone knows who Michael Jordan is. Like Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali before him, Jordan’s name transcends sports.

His impact on and off the court is undeniable.

The first time I ever saw Michael Jordan play was in December of 1981. He was a freshman at North Carolina and his top-ranked Tar Heels were playing second-ranked Kentucky at the Meadowlands in a nationally televised contest. I remember Jordan looking like he had skills, but James Worthy and Sam Perkins were clearly the best players on that UNC squad.

At that time, anyway.

Since this was before cable TV was in most houses, a lot of the country wouldn’t see Jordan again until the NCAA Tournament.

But, with Baltimore being in ACC country, we got to see him and the Tar Heels play plenty of times during that 1981-82 season on the Jefferson-Pilot network.

It was a normal occurrence to tune into Channel 45 on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and see North Carolina play Wake Forest, Duke (stunk at the time) Clemson, Virginia (awesome at the time) and, of course, Maryland.

I vividly remember sitting at my friend Tommy Shifflett’s house on Register Street in Southeast Baltimore watching Adrian Branch and the pesky Terps lose a 59-56 heart breaker to the top-ranked Heels in Chapel Hill.

During that season’s National Championship game, Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds as UNC beat Georgetown to win it all.

That shot made Jordan a hero and started his legend.

As a sophomore, MJ became a first-team All-American. By his junior season, he was National Player of the Year.

Of course in 1984, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and the rest is history.

I had the pleasure watching his entire career. Jordan provided me, and countless others, with memories that will last for a lifetime.

Great memories. Well, except for dunking on Maryland. But I digress.

Wow, Michael Jordan is turning 50.

Guys like him should never grow old.

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