Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on May 18, 1990 · Page 36
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 36

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Friday, May 18, 1990
Page 36
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t AD DETROIT FREE PRESSFRIDAY, MAY 18, 1990 Pistons set defensive with Jordan El Speaking of dead ends, Bulls know the feeling By drew sharp Fhv Press Sports Writer As they prepare for the Chicago Bulls, the Pistons are now feeling like the Boston Celtics used to. But a few seasons ago, the Pistons were very much like the Bulls. Boston used to be the Pistons' biggest obstacle in getting through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Just as the Celtics were a postseason dead end for the -Pistons until 1988, the Pistons have ended Chicago's "' playoff aspirations in the last two years. "There's definitely a hate factor involved when they play us," John Salley said. "We're their Boston. It was always something big when we played the Celtics. We're what Chicago shoots for." NO ROOM AT PAWCt The Pistons will prepare at Oakland I University for Sunday's series opener because the Palace is reserved all week for concerts. That has created some inconveniences because the Pistons must return to the Palace after practice to view game tapes. "It reminds me of the Joe Louis (Arena) days when we " didn't have our own facility," coach Chuck Daly said. , "We're used to working here during the season, so it shouldn't make that much of a difference." SUNS NO SURPRISE: The Phoenix Suns' elimination of the Los Angeles Lakers was unbelievable to many, but not to Vinnie Johnson. "It wasn't a big surprise to me," he said. ' ' "Phoenix is a great team. They just came out and took it to .,. the Lakers. We all knew they were capable of doing it." HE GOT AN EYEFUL- Gerald Henderson got poked in his left -eye by Dennis Rodman and didn't finish practice. ' Henderson apparently was not seriously injured. PlAYOFF SCHEDULE Eastern semifinals Western semifinals BULLS VS. 76ERS LAKERS VS. SUNS Built win, 4-1 Sunt win, 4-1 Chicago 96, Philadelphia 85 Chicago 101, Philadelphia 96 Philadelphia 118, Chicago 112 Chicago 111, Philadelphia 101 Chicago 117, Philadelphia 99 Eastern finals PISTONS VS. BULLS Sunday: at Detroit, 1.-00 Tuesday: at Detroit, 8:00 May 26: at Chicago, ZOO May 28: at Chicago, 3:00 If necessary May 30-. at Detroit, 8:00 June 1: at Chicago, 9:00 June 3: at Detroit, TBA Next: vs. Portland-SA winner TRAIL BLAZERS VS. SPURS Series tied, 3-3 Portland 107, San Antonio 94 Portland 122, San Antonio 112 San Antonio 121, Portland 98 San Antonio 115, Portland 105 Port 138, San Ant. 132 (2 OT) San Antonio 112, Portland 97 Saturday: at Portland, 3:30 Next: vs. Phoenix Pistons playoff Statistics Through Thursday PLAYER O MM FG-fGA FG FT-FTA FTS REB A AVQ Thomas 8 37.1 56-123 .455 23-29 .793 5.0 8.5 16.5 Edwards 8 26.8 57-104 .548 31-41 .756 26 0.4 18.1 Dumars 8 35.4 44-98 .449 33-37 .892 Z0 5.3 15.1 Laimbeer 8 33.9 42-83 .506 3-3 1.00 11.8 1.5 11.6 Salley 8 26.0 29-58 .500 30-42 .714 61 1.3 11.0 Aguirre 8 21.3 37-77 .481 12-17 .708 3.5 1.5 10.9 Johnson 8 22.9 4040 .500 64 .750 2.6 25 10.9 Rodman 8 31.9 25-44 .568 3-11 .273 8.9 1.3 6.6 Hastings 1 5.0 1-1 1.000 f0 .000 0.0 0.0 20 Bedford 2 4.0 1-4 .250 0-0 .000 1.0 0.0 1.0 Qreenwd 2 7.0 1-1 1.000 0-2 .000 0.0 0.0 1.0 Henderson 2 6.0 0-1 .000 04 .000 1.0 2.0 0.0 TOTA18 - 333-674 .494 141-190 .742 43.0 22.6 103.5 QPP. 6 - 279-624 .447 161-200.805 38.8 21.3 1. Three-point goals: Johnson 1-1 (1.000), Thomas 13-28 (.464), Laimbeer 6-16 (.375), Aguirre 1-8 (.125), Dumars 0-2 (.000), Team 21-55 (.382), Opponents 15-55 (.273). Jordan lends his name, collects cash ; Michael Jordan, from Page ID ' Lucrative deals with McDonald's, ! Coca-Cola, General Mills, Wilson ' Sporting Goods and other corporations i Bring in more than $2 million ; combined. Several other licensing I agreements are pending it amounts to Jordan lending his name to, say, a clothing line the way Pierre Cardin ,' lends his name to purses. I The architect of all this is ProServ. : "One of the unique aspects of Michael's relationship with the various corporations is that he's in the second ' generation of most of his deals," Falk ! said. "Six years is a very long time for a ; personality to remain as attractive as Michael has. It was a matter of both : sides looking for longevity." i ' Jordan is more than satisfied. ' "I don't look to sign any more j endorsements," he said, i nc The initial marketing strategy i featuring Jordan was structured on his appeal as a college star and Olympic ; hero. Call it the All-Amerida approach. ' As the college game's two-time ' national player of the year, Jordan and : All-America were synonymous while he starred at North Carolina. He also ; led the U.S. team to the 1984 Olympic ; gold medal at Los Angeles. r "The emphasis was on affiliations I with American companies as Michael ; came out of college," Falk said. "He's ' been very selective." i OK, Nike's shoes are made in Taiwan, but the headquarters are in 1 Beaverton, Ore. And what are i McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Wheaties and i Chevrolet if not an All-America lineup? j Jordan also endorses Hanes ; underwear, owned by nobody-doesn't-' like Sara Lee. ' "As a businessman," Falk said, j "Michael filled in every gap and j executed to perfection. If we were the ' architects, he was a master builder." r But probably the most remarkable -aspect of the Jordan phenomenon is kIImw he has overcome advertising's team-sport barrier. Golf and tennis I "stars are more easily identifiable while ;jn competition. Also, athletes in those sports frequently resemble mobile billboards with logos pasted all over jfheir clothes. And golf and tennis " audiences are generally among the most affluent of crowds. Jordan, though, has moved past all - that traffic. He has, industry sources say, the highest Q-score (the ratio of a celebrity s favorableness and familiarity) among active athletes. Despite an NBA schedule that keeps him within the boundaries of the United States, he has achieved k worldwide fame. It does not approach t, the scope of former boxing great Muhammad Ali's or international soccer star Maradonna's, or does it? Why else would the national airline of Jordan the Middle East country offer him $1 million to help promote m tourism? fL. But some skeptics suggest that athletes have little effect on the selling of products. Career achievement, t popular appeal and off-court image are X- of such vital importance that few I. athletes can sustain themselves in jj,' advertising arenas over a long time. J Jordan has. And along the way, he is learning to be as comfortable in E boardrooms as he is crashing backboards. "I'm more involved in that end of it jtf)w than when I got started," Jordan P"Said. "I'm still learning." u .m i Jordan also has learned to depend "upon the infrastructure of support he in the family By Greg Stoda Free Press Sports Writer CHICAGO The Michael Jordan empire reaches to wife, father and mother, brother and sister. Jordan's parents, James and Debris, are vice presidents or chairmen of JUMP Inc. and the Jordan Foundation. His wife, Juanita, works in similar capacities. JUMP Inc. primarily involves Jordan's business interests. The Jordan Foundation is a fund-raising wing, created last fall, through which the Chicago Bulls star hopes to involve his endorsement companies in charity work for various groups including Ronald McDonald House, UNICEF, the Starlight Foundation. "Michael has approximately a week of free days from the time the season ends to when training camp begins," said Barbara Allen, Jordan's booking agent at ProServ, which represents him. "It gets to the point where he needs help in some areas." And that's where his family comes in. James and Debris Jordan, with two of their other children, Larry and Roslyn, also are involved in the operation of three sporting goods stores called Flight 23 By Jordan in Charlotte, N.C. Business is good, and it figures to improve when the NBA All-Star Game is played at Charlotte next season. "I'm comfortable financially," said Jordan, in the second season of a $25-million-plus, eight-year contract, "but I'd still call myself cautious in the long-term. I'd like to think we could make future generations secure." f has built. He is tremendously protective of the time he spends alone with his wife, Juanita, and son, Jeff. "There are some things people just don't need to know about," Jordan said. He is necessarily particular about his friends, and many of his closest ones remain those who were buddies in high school in Wilmington, N.C. He doesn't have to be on stage with those people. "It's almost like being an actor," he said. "That's not it exactly, but it's like that. I'm so afraid of making a mistake and ruining something that I've worked very hard to attain. I protect the image. It's not that I'm one way outside and another way in private life, but there is some difference. That's the part that's a little like acting." When the demand for your attention is endless, marketing yourself becomes a habit Everybody wants a piece of Jordan. "You can't believe it unless you're with him," said Adolph Shiver, a high school teammate and still one of Jordan's best friends. "He has learned to say 'no.' He's still not very good at it, but he has to. If he didn't refuse some things, he'd have no time at all for himself. He has to have someplace to cut the fool" meaning goof around. Peeks into Jordan's daily existence begin to reveal why major corporations want him aligned with their products. Basically, he transcends race and sex and age in terms of personal and marketing appeal. The public consumes him, so it's no wonder advertisers want l)im in front of the consuming public: Every time Jordan parks one of his cars outside the Bulls' practice facility in Deerfield, 111., it's the signal for a circus to start. One day last week, a businessman, dressed in suit and tie, drove up, stepped out of his car with a Minicam and circled Jordan's black Corvette while filming it. It's a parked car! Nobody is there! This is no way to spend a lunch hour. "Happens all the time," Shiver said. "It's easy to believe with kids, but it's everybody. We were walking downtown one night, and a guy spotted Michael. He's driving and following us. After a couple of blocks, he jumped out and got MJ's autograph." Jordan, too, knows when he's plugged in. Entering the practice complex through a side door, he did a sort of shuffle-and-dance movement through a women's aerobics class on his way to the gym. Multiple reflections of Michael Jordan suddenly were on the mirrored walls. Guess how many women were watching Jordan. Guess how many were out of sync with the instructor. Marketing. Almost like being an actor. He has a similar effect on people when he's doing nothing at all, and it doesn't matter if those people are part of high-powered businesses. "I think one of the most amazing things I've ever seen involved Michael," said Dennis Grapenthin, Wilson's director for special markets. "There was a question-and-answer session going on. A gentleman stood up and said, 'Mr. Jordan, I don't have a question. I just wanted to thank you for being such an excellent example for the youth of this country.' He sat down, and 700 executives gave Michael a standing ovation. It was absolutely spontaneous." Nike spokeswoman Liz Dolan says explaining Jordan "would be like trying to explain Babe Ruth." And though it all started with Nike, it nearly didn't start there at all. "Nike had to talk me into going out there," Jordan said. "I was tired. I had been flying all around the country. I kept putting them off. Finally, they said, 'We'll let you make your own shoe.' That was their pitch. They sold me pretty good." Jordan's shoes of choice in college, though, were Adidas. Nike hit him with commercial pilots, technologists, designers, marketing and promotions specialists. He was a target "You wouldn't believe the numbers they were throwing at me," Jordan said. Numbers that now sound modest. "Oh, $250,000," Jordan said. "But nobody in the business was given that kind of opportunity" to start Adidas didn't match, and Jordan signed with Nike, and Air Jordans took flight During the 1984-85 season, Jordan's first, Nike sales of the Air Jordan line hit $100 million. A broken foot sidelined Jordan for most of his second NBA season, and sales dropped. Since then, sales have By Drew sharp Free Press Sports Writer As his teammates celebrated their Eastern Conference championship over the Chicago Bulls last year, Joe Dumars lay sprawled in front of his locker, drained of every dunce of energy. Such is the consequence of shadowing Michael Jordan for six games. Dumars isn't expecting anything different in the conference championship rematch beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Palace. Defense has carried the Pistons to their fourth straight conference final. And if they're to claim a second NBA championship, they must redirect Air Jordan's course. "I was too tired to even put a smile on my face last year," Dumars said. "You have to work hard against him if you hope to have any chance. Michael's a handful. How's that for understatements? He's the ultimate challenge to whomever is checking him." Dumars and Dennis Rodman draw the assignment. The two were the top vote-getters for the 1990 NBA All-Defensive Team announced Thursday. It was the second straight year as first-team selections for both. . Rodman, the defensive player of the year, received the most points (49) and was named on 24 of the 26 first-team ballots. Dumars had 41 points with 19 first-place votes from the league's 27 coaches. "It's just another example of how we're recognized around the league as a good defensive team," Rodman said. "It's a nice honor especially because it's from the coaches. It's certainly going to be put to the test this time." Jordan elevated his already lofty game another notch in leading the Bulls over Philadelphia in the conference semifinals, averaging 43 points overall and 17 in the fourth quarter. If the Bulls are to beat the Pistons, Jordan must maintain his 40.2-point playoff average. Plus, he must receive back-up support from his accompaniment the Jordanaires. Scottie Pippen's improvement (21.6 points) and the playoff maturation of rookies Stacey King and BJ. Armstrong make the Bulls tougher than the team that took Detroit to six games in last year's Eastern Conference finals. But the Bulls still revolve around Jordan. He has taken the 1989"90 NBA AMJefereive Team, selected by, Ji head coaches (fHiaca vo68 P9"116868 :lv ; If M Dermis Rodman, Detroit 24 C Akeem Olajuwon, Houston 17 C David Robinson, San Antonio 4 17 G AMn Robertson, Mrwaukea 4 I QSDefekHarper g more than a third of Chicago's shots in the playoffs., The Pistons have countered with "the Jordan Rules,," .an intricate defensive scheme that requires double-, even triple-teaming. Jordan can't even tie his shoelaces without a Piston hovering over him. They "held" Jordan to averages of 26 points and 43 percent shooting in their five regular-season meetings. The Pistons were 4-1. "zr "I always laugh when people come up and tell me've done a good job on him and he scored 30 points," Dumars said. "Thirty points is still awfully good in this league, but for him it's considered an off night." But there are the "Dumars Rules" as well. First, be physically prepared; second, never get discouraged;, And third, forget all pre-planned guidelines. "You can watch all the films you want," Dumars said. "And talk about all the things you want him to do, but it doesn't mean a thing once you walk onto the court. YouTTave to be ready to work your tail off and react to what he'do&s. And even if you do, he can still get his points." 5 vr, Vs. f ' Jordan sells more than shoes for Nike. Jom'.TS Qu::rm?n-Dou:n PoriTFOuo How ccHTipanies' stocks have fared since Jordan endorsed their products (figures do not take Into account stock splits and other Influences on the market): ' ' i m . . . , , , . COMPANY, i PRICE PRICE PCT. CHANGE (at (atThurs. . (since endorsement) close) endorsement) Nike (Aug. '84) 10U 7614 643 Coca-Cola (Aug. '85) 11 ' 42,s 259 McDonald's "(Nov. '84) 11Vi 31ft 177 eectronfc Arts mL ..6 ,. 151 j94.,.,,,,.,..1 GyajiBte(Aug.,88) . JSVfe 78 58 .; tNote: Prices at mtorsament are closings on trw last day of the month Jordan reached agreement with the various concerns. The Initial public offering for Electronic Arts was in Sept. '69.) Source: J Lee Peeler & Co., Durham, N.C. Violence puts shoe on the n other foot .: By Greg Stoda Free Press Sports Writer CHICAGO What some people fell for, Michael Jordan gives away.-"" The custom-made Air Jordannbas-ketball shoes he wears while playing have a life expectancy of one game. After that, Jordan usually sees to it that some youngster gets them. It's a fantasy come to life "for a chosen few. But in the real world, such fancy shoes have become a motive for murder and a symbol of the wrong kind of success. Somebody wants them; somebody uses a gun or a knife to take them. Frequently, someone with enough money to buy the $100-plus shoes gets the cash by dealing drugs. , This phenomenon has led to criticism of Jordan and other athletes and coaches who promote sales with glitzy commercials and glamorous pitches. "The people who blame athletes,or advertisers are ignoring the basic; issue," Jordan said. "Using theshoe situation that way is exploitation of a social problem. There is a need to re-establish values for our children,. -and that's up to the parents." IK , Jordan doesn't deny that today's superstar athletes often have a greater impact on children's thinking thando zoomed right along with Jordan's scoring titles. Nike established the base. It was the start of Jordan's synergistic spin. Everything rubs off. The best .example is that McDonald's sells fast food ... and Coca-Cola as a soft drink. Think of it in terms of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Falk used to say it was like adding one plus one and coming up with something more than two. Now, it adds up to this: "I can't think of anybody in the world who would turn down Michael if he wanted to sign with them," Falk said. The shoe companies that wouldn't match Nike's offer or wouldn't invent a personalized line for Jordan are now staring at Nike's nearly 25 percent share of the market. Not bad for a company that started making shoes specifically for the University of Oregon track team. Phil Knight, Nike's chief executive officer, was a middle-distance runner for the Ducks, and the first shipment of shoes was stored in him mother's laundry room just about the time Jordan was born in 1963. Nike's Jump Man logo the splay-legged leaping dunker that is a silhouette of Jordan now is probably more recognizable than the NBA's Jerry West left-handed dribbler insignia. So pervasive is the Jordan influence that Nike estimates two-thirds of the apparel with the logo is counterfeit. "Anyone with a printing machine can counterfeit a T-shirt," Dolan said. "Anyone with a logo can cut a likeness of the Jump Man and put it on a shirt. "I've seen whole fronts of T-shirts with the logo in sequins. Nike does not make sequin T-shirts." Still, it's a glittery world Jordan has created. He said he spends "14 or 15 days a year" filming various commercials. But he apparently has successfully integrated the two lives. Teammates are more awestruck than envious. The Bulls, as an organization, occasionally feel the need to protect him, but Jordan is primarily the monitor of his own time! "He does a good job," Chicago coach Phil Jackson said. "It never interferes with basketball. He knows the framework. The things he needs to do for the club, he does; business is business. "There is nothing like it. Others have emulated what Michael has done, but only for awhile. Most guys, eventually, have lost an image." Jordan lives in fear of a slip. A misinterpretation. A mistake. "I've given up a part of my life," he said. "Sometimes, I feel more like a possession than a person." It's a trade-off. Michael Jordan belongs to the world. And he owns a big chunk of it. 1 fiflffgft ffiEffifr parents, teachers or any other guardians. But, he says, there's a lirmX to what can be expected of people who are not in everyday personal contact with children. -"- "I know all about the violence," Jordan said. "I've talked about itjhate that it's happening. But I don't thjnk I should stop selling the shoes. I've gotten many, many letters from parents who teU me they use the shoes or something else like a shirt .or, an outfit as incentive. They tejtfcheir kids, 'Get good grades and stay put of trouble, and we'll see about getting you something.' Well, that's good, isn'tft? I want to contribute to that Goals are important, aren't they? That's what I want That's what I hope." M But in some of this city's toughest neighborhoods such as the one surrounding Chicago Stadium -where the Bulls play goals are not always so honorable. -y . Maybe a kid makes it home with his new shoes. Maybe he doesn't v

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