Michael Jordan @ 50 The Memoirs of a Bulls fan far from Chicago

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A short career summary of the Greatest Basketball Player of All Time

April 16, 2003, not even a Playoff game, the other team isn’t fighting for Playoff contention, while the other team secured it’s spot in the NBA Postseason. The date though was significant at that time as the media, the attention of the whole world tuned in to the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers game, which just like I said that has no bearing whatsoever in the league when it comes to Playoff positioning. All the attention and the media commotion was caused by one man who after playing 13 years from the Chicago Bulls, came back 5 years later and played for the Washington Wizards is finally bidding goodbye for good. Though he only scored 15 points, but the cheers and the adulation of the fans worldwide will always remember the Man, Michael Jordan.

I always remembered Michael Jordan as the ultimate winner, the scorer, the excellent teammate and the Best in the World. Growing up there are a lot of facts that I didn’t know about Jordan, one of those that he was cut when he tried out in their basketball varsity team in favor of Leroy Smith, while being demoted to Jr. Varsity (though several stories arose that Jordan dominated Jr. Varsity). A year later he improved his game, and eventually landed a spot in their HS basketball team which was Laney High School. Jordan went on and impressed Coach Mike Mike Kryzweski of Duke University. Coach K tried to recruit Jordan but Jordan decided to play for Dean Smith and The University of North Carolina. By the way here’s the proof the Coach K tried to recruit MJ.

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Coach K’s letter to Michael Jordan after learning he wouldn’t be coming to Duke. (Caption and photo taken from Bleacher Report, credit goes to them

Jordan then went on and found individual and team success with the Tar Heels (with teammate Sam Perkins and James Worthy) winning the 1982 NCAA Championship against future rival Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas. He also won 2 All America First team, Rupp Awards, the Big O award to name a few. Jordan left before his senior year and threw his hat into the 1984 NBA Draft.

Jordan was selected 3rd behind Future Hall of Fame Center Akeem Olajuwon and draft bust Sam Bowie. Jordan went on to revitalized the city of Chicago, leading them to their first playoff appearance in years. Though Jordan broke his foot in the early part of the 85-86 season, he came back storming and in a memorable way. Jordan’s career brilliance was shown early as the young guard lit up the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of their Playoff Game at the historic Boston Garden. Jordan scored 63 points breaking the Elgin Baylor record that stood for years, though Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Celtics (who eventually won the NBA Title that year), Larry Bird gave props to the young guard saying “God disguised as Michael Jordan”. To this day the 63 point performance is still the record for the single game points scored by an individual in the NBA Playoffs.

Though Jordan would come up short, the Bulls franchise slowly built a solid team that will help the team to be relevant, adding pieces such as Scottie Pippen, Stacy King, BJ Armstrong, John Paxson, trading Charles Oakley for Center Bill Cartwright the Bulls slowly built the core that will help him win their first NBA Title but not after getting schooled by the Detroit Pistons and the Jordan Rules defense. Jordan and the Bulls eventually defeated their bitter rivals in 1991 via sweep and marched on to face the Magic Johnson, James Worthy led Los Angeles Lakers.

Though the series highlight was when Jordan changed the shot in mid air to avoid getting blocked, fans will always remember his brilliance throughout the series and how he used the triangle offense that was installed by 2nd year coach Phil Jackson. Though Pippen would steal thunder by limiting Magic in the majority of the series, Jordan had clutch shots and timely baskets and led them to the promise land, the first NBA title to the city of Chicago, though Jordan won another one in 1992, where in Jordan poured in 3 pointers after 3 pointers and the memory of the shrug lived on.

In 1992 Jordan with other NBA greats such as Magic, Larry Bird, teammate Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Cylde Drexler and Duke University’s Christian Laettner (who eventually got Drafted #2 by the Minnesota Timberwolves) dominated Barcelona en route to a Gold Medal victory over future teammate Toni Kukoc and Croatia.

Jordan then went on to dominate the 92-93 Season, posting 55 wins good enough to win them the 2nd seed in the East, though they somehow overcame the #1 seeded New York Knicks which is led by Partick Ewing in the playoffs and marched on to their 3rd Finals this time dating the Barkley led Phoenix Suns who won the MVP that season. Jordan and Barkley had a classic shoot out in most of the games, but when the dust has settled John Paxson burried a key 3 that sealed the league’s first 3 peat since the Boston Celtics back in the 60s.

Jordan then shocked the world and retired from the game of basketball, to play baseball and was assigned to a AA team where he batted  .202 had 51 RBIs and 3 HRs. Jordan then snapped out of his “dream” and came back to play basketball in 1995. Jordan then helped the Bulls to strengthen their playoff grip during that time he also torched the Knicks for 55 points. The Bulls though did not find Playoff success after Jordan returned in the 1995 Playoffs, they were eventually humiliated by the Orlando Magic, the picture of NIck Anderson stealing the ball from Jordan was a bitter pill to swallow for every Bulls fan, with that defeat Jordan worked on his game and improved to regain his rightful place.

Before the 1995-1996 season Jordan and Pippen welcomed the addition of former Rival and the NBA’s rebounding leader Dennis Rodman, with Rodman “anchoring” the Bulls’ defense and rebounding the Bulls cruised to the season winning 72 regular season games a record that still stands today as the most wins in the regular season. Jordan went on to win another MVP (he won 1987, 1991 and 1992 prior to that) and finally regaining the NBA title after battling the tough Seattle Supersonics in the Finals, the Father’s Day Game according to the Bulls lore, as an emotional Michael Jordan clutched the ball while on the floor crying as teammates mugged him, this was Jordan’s first title without his father at his side. The Bulls came back stronger the next season as Jordan won another MVP and while the Bulls posted 69 wins in the regular season. They faced the Utah Jazz who were led by Karl Malone and John Stockton. The series will be remembered not only for the Jordan game winner in Game 1 or the Steve Kerr game winner in Game 6 but also for the Flu Game where Jordan scored 38 points despite having Flu like symptoms. Jordan then won his 5th title. Title number 6 was a different story, Jordan had to carry the Bulls in the early part of the season due to the injury of Scottie Pippen, despite the early season struggle the Bulls posted a 60-22 record good enough to be #1 in the East, but will have to surrender homecourt advantage to a motivated Utah Jazz in the Finals. Indeed just like in the story books, the rematch was set. Though Quinito Henson insisted that the Jazz where favorites to win the series, he forgot one thing number 23, Michael Jordan. After a tough and impressive victory in Game 1, Jordan and Pippen tore the Jazz apart in Games 2, 3 and 4, shocking the Jazz fans and Quinito Henson. Though the Jazz staved off and cancelled the Madison Street Party in Game 5, it only set up a classic performance that only Jordan can deliver. After injuring his back, Scottie Pippen played gingerly in the 6th game against the Jazz, playing less effective and eventually cost him his Finals MVP. And I’ll leave wikipedia to do the talking for me with this one.

The Bulls returned to Utah for Game 6 on June 14, 1998 leading the series 3–2. Jordan executed a series of plays, considered to be one of the greatest clutch performances in NBA Finals history. With the Bulls trailing 86–83 with 41.9 seconds remaining, Phil Jackson called a timeout. When play resumed, Jordan received the inbound pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over several Jazz defenders. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and passed the ball to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low post and was being guarded by Rodman. Malone jostled with Rodman and caught the pass, but Jordan cut behind him and swatted the ball out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, possibly pushing off Russell, although the officials did not call a foul.  Jordan then made the climactic jump shot of his career. After John Stockton missed a desperation 3-pointer, Jordan and the Bulls claimed their sixth NBA championship, and secured a second three-peat. Once again, Jordan was voted the Finals MVP,  having led all scorers by averaging 33.5 points per game, including 45 in the deciding Game 6.

Thanks wikipedia I knew I could rely on you, sometimes.

Just like mentioned above Jordan capped off his magnificent career with the Bulls, winning his 6th Finals MVP and his 6th Championship with Scottie Pippen and Coach Phil Jackson.

Though Jordan came back to the lackluster Washington Wizards, he helped the team to be competitive, at age 39 or 40 he can still outplay and outwit younger guys and even outscore the opposing team’s top scorer and at times shut them down. While fans would like to erase the memory of him playing for Washington, I on the other hand will remember how he torched Cleveland once again just like the way he torched them in 89 AKA The Shot 3. The night he scored 40, his All Star Game classic in 2003. Jordan will always be remembered as a competitor, the tongue sticking, air gliding, rim rattling, fade away making, player he simply is the greatest. Thank you Michael, now stop sucking as an executive.

A CALAMBEÑO IN BAGUIO PART 1 (January 26 to 27)

Well it took me 2 weeks to be in the mood to write something and somehow I have to include the Superbowl here as well. I also saw that my piece about the Lakers was published in another blog (though that blog will only give you an excerpt and gives you a link that will lead you here) and with that I’m glad that this place got a hit or 2 maybe more and was shared in facebook at least once. So I guess that in a way was a successful insight and I will make more of them in years to come.

With that out of the way lets start.. Around January 23 or 24 my Dad asked me if I wanted to go to Baguio with him for a vacation, told  him that OK I’ll check if rarejob already sent me an email for further instructions about my up coming job. But stars aligned and there was no email andI told my Dad that I’m going with him and never regretted coming (this was my first time in Baguio City by the way). So dad booked a hotel, researched online where to ride and of course Victory Liner is the best choice if you want to go to Baguio City.

So in the morning of the 26th of January we left at around 4AM and rode a bus going to Cubao, Quezon City, the terminal of that bus is a stone throw away from Victory so my dad bought us tickets and was booked for the 8AM trip (we arrived at the terminal around 5AM) though the ticket counter said that we can actually be chance passengers for the next trip which is 6 AM.. Long story short we took our chance and YES, we’re off to Baguio and was able to ride that 6AM bus hooray!!!!

Sorry no pictures from the bus. But anyway one of the coolest part of the trip is that the Bus has wi fi connection so I was able to search for prayer for travelling and be updated with the Bulls game who happens to be playing the Golden State Warriors during that time and the Bulls won! We stopped over in Tarlac City, Tarlac after close to 3 hours of travelling. Since it was only a 15 minute stop it was good enough only for puffing a cigarette or 2 and a pee break, good thing I had a heavy breakfast. The second stop was in Sison, Pangasinan where they served one of the tastiest pork bar-b-ques I ever had for an overpriced  price and a coke in a small stall Mr. Donut stall in that same bus stop, and of course another pee break.

During that long hours in the bus I’ve seen nice locales and places that the government should look at, I mean they should at least consider modernization to the place or at least give the local government enough budget to create something like an office building or something. Oh well “hindi naman ako siguro sa Bayan dumaan”  we’ll never know. Anyway after leaving Sison the last stop before going to the almost 5000 Ft below sea level city, perhaps the 2nd coldest place or the coldest place in the Philippines (some say its Mt Pulag in the nearby province of La Union). We reached Kennon Rd and saw a view from above, I think a saw beach and practically parts of Pangasinan. Damn those couple beside me I want to kick them out so I can see those majestic view for myself hahaha. A few minutes after trekking Kennon Rd, I already saw UP Baguio and and it’s gardens, I was excited I can’t wait to go down and enjoy the weather.

We eventually hit our destination the Victory Liner terminal near UP Baguio and SM Baguio (@ 12:30 pm). When I went down I was actually excited, excited that I immediately tapped the ground and say “first time ko” while kneeling on one leg doing the Tebow position. I looked like an idiot, maybe not. So my dad said let’s look for a place to eat, but I told my dad that let’s drop our bags to the hotel and just eat in SM Baguio, so off to the hotel. We reached the hotel which was named Hotel Veniz (in downtown Baguio near Burnham Park) a little close to 1:00 pm and got to our rooms around 1:15 pm. Veniz offers free wi fi and tweeted to my homies that I arrived in Baguio safe, as if somebody cares. We left the hotel around 1:30 pm to have lunch at SM Baguio. Well after luch our next stop was Camp John Hay, we had 3 optional activities: zip line; picnic; or jog around, I wanted to try zip lining and even listened to the seminar but I wasn’t allowe by the nurse because of my physical condition dammit! If only I can brag that I braved the long trekk of the Pagudpud falls or played 40 minutes of competative basketball she might allow me, anyway we chose to jog but  tommy abuel was nowhere to be found, you know the film with Sharon Cuneta, Jackie Lou Blanco, Rowell Santiago and William Martinez, Friends in love ring any bells? Oh well  I miss Viva Cinema.

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Well the picture above was me @ Camp John Hay hoping that I get to do zip lining oh well, maybe next time.

Ourt next stop was at Mines View Park, and at this time I was actually looking for cigarettes. I mean my last cig was in Sison, and I’m still stuffed because of all the sisig that I ate in A Taste of Laoag as stand at the SM Foodcourt in Baguio, before going to Mines View I happen see a 7 11 in the area and guess what? No air con just an open door and a cool breeze from the City is good to ventilate the store, God I love Baguio and yes CIGARETTES!!!! Anyway this blog doesn’t promote smoking cigarettes or drinking booze hence my target still stands by the end of 2013 no more cigs.

So, while walking down the “viewing place” in Mines View, I saw a lot of stuff, like passion fruit, uhm lots of flowers, strawberries, the iconic everlasting which happens to be a flower that lasts forever, other than that I saw the people. I mean I never saw a number of people perhaps tourists and students who are having their field trip this many it’s like getting out of a Ginebra game in the PBA, or better yet like the time where Ding Dong Dantes and Marian Rivera had a mall tourin SM Calamba where you can hear fan boys (YES FAN BOYS) and fan girls go gaga over the couple if they only knew my Marian stories..  Though I managed to walk my way out of the crowd of tourist by slowly maneuvering my way through those slippery rocks and arrived without a scratch at the view deck.. GREAT SUCCESS!!

Mines view was interesting too bad my dad has his Samsung Note and i have to leave my HTC phone for charging and I didn’t get to take pictures of the view and how mining really destroyed crap out of that part of the mountain, well perhaps Mines View Park’s purpose is not to see it’s beauty but rather a reminder to take care of our environment and the negative effects of mining as well, well especially if the mining isn’t really careful with the environment.

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So after hanging out in Mines View my dad asked me if I wanted to take pictures of me wearing an Igorot costume so we took pictures and this is my favorite behold, the warrior!

Igorot 300 style

Igorot 300 style

Well after Mines View Park my Dad decided to bring me to the Mansion the vacation house of every Philippine President since Manuel L. Quenzon (heck even the days of the American rule it was also the vacation house of the American Governor-Generals). After having a nice puff of cigs, we eventually went inside the compound and took pictures and even asked the guard there if Noynoy will be there, said he usually comes during the Philippine Military Academy Graduation, so yeah that blows I wanted to shake his hand and go nuts after all you don’t get to meet the President everyday except if you’re a cabinet member, or a family member like Kris Aquino, oh yeah.

Interestingly besides housing American Governor-Generals and Philippine Presidents, the Mansion was also the site of Japan's formal surrender during World War II

Interestingly besides housing American Governor-Generals and Philippine Presidents, the Mansion was also the site of Japan’s formal surrender during World War II

So after failing to do zip lining and being unable to find the mustache wielding Tommy Abuel in John Hay, muscling people in Mines View and visiting the Mansion (while eating the famous strawberry taho) we decided to rest and visit Burnham the site where most of the movie kilig scenes from Friends in Love and some Gabby Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta movies, oh well Sharon Cuneta should have  a shrine in Baguio so as Tommy Abuel’s mustache. We had a massage for Php 50 while viewing the pond, where in that time was undergoing renovations. So after the massage we decided to look for a place to eat and at least have one bottle of beer, so we decided to eat at Solibao Restaurant where in my opinion served one of the best Chopseuy I ever tasted in my entire life. Though my dad bragged about the tasty bar-b-ques in Burnham back in the early 90s we’re too tired too look for it but unfortunately after eating there was still a classic turo turo/bar-b-que restaurant  just outside the park, oh well off to the hotel.

So we decided to have an early sleep, though I wanted to wake up at around 2Am to hunt for babes and babes in white (if they show up) i failed to do so hence I woke up 5AM enough time to enjoy whatever’s left in the fog, went to Burnham and saw people jog while I plan my next visit, yes next time I’ll bring a jogging equipment so I can jog yey!!!

I want back to the hotel at 6 am for a scheduled breakfast, I stuffed myself with tocino, fried rice, egg with mushroom and potato nuggets damn those nuggets are good, after having a heavy breakfast we went to the PMA where our future military leaders train and hopefully they stay clean and not corrupt like some of our military officers. So every Sunday the cadets will gather up and do some drilling to the delight of the tourist there, but unfortunately a high ranking officer from the AFP visited the school and instead of having exhibitions and all those stuff we get to have a presentation in his honor, anyway it’s still fun though, there was part of me that the marching band played the Star Wars Imperial March as the General arrived.

Me with the future officers of our country

Me with the future officers of our country

Well I actually put this as a “highlight” of my trip not only did I get to attend the mass but this place is awfully familiar.

20130127_085334This is the Baguio Cathedral folks, after taking the 100 step ladder (which if I’m from Baguio I’ll take that stairs everyday as an exercise)  to attend the mass and honor the Lord. The place also housed a memorial plaque that honored those who died during the carpet bombing in 1945. The place is also a location for the double wedding of William Martinez and Sharon Cuneta , Jackie Lou Blanco and Rowell Santiago in the movie Friends in Love and of course Mr. Mustache was there as well, and there are a number of movie weddings are held there as well. Oh yeah!

So after going to the PMA, after having lunch at the Veniz we packed our things and decided to go back to Calamba, though unsuccessful in getting the girls name at least, it’s still a fun trip and a very nice place. I will miss the fresh scent of flowers combined with the soothing smell of those pine trees and the smokes you know when you go outdoors during the wee hours of the morning and started talking there’s smoke in your mouth, anyway I look forward on seeing Baguio again and enjoying the ambiance of the City of Pines.

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Well in other news for some reason I was surprised that the Superbowl led the trends even after the game and the Baltimore Ravens were crowned champions.  So for a country who I bet doesn’t know who Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco is this is a surprise.

they even beat Be careful with my heart..

they even beat Be careful with my heart..

Again congratulations to Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens for winning Superbowl 47 and to the San Francisco 49ers for having an amazing season.