You can count the NY Times’ Harvey Aarton amongst those less than impressed with Michael Jordan’s “60 Minutes” appearance Sunday evening. Dismissing Jordan’s chat with Ed Bradley as “an infomercial”, Aarton writes,
Jordan’s star power was always predicated on his coming through, then cashing in. He never attached himself to a cause that would enhance his legacy in his post-playing years. His most enduring quote comes from a book – Sam Smith’s “Second Coming” – not written by him.
“Republicans buy shoes, too,” Jordan reportedly told a friend, referring to his refusal to endorse an African-American candidate, Harvey Gantt, in a North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms.
“It’s a heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody,” Jordan said, when Bradley mentioned criticism of his failure to be socially active or political. It was a familiar refrain for an unfocused question. Did Jordan ever feel guilt about not using his unparalleled leverage to speak out about the plight of impoverished blacks? What about his promise years ago to investigate Nike’s alleged workplace malpractices, but never quite getting around to it?
Jordan played it safe and never seemed sorry. His centrist strategy was certainly no crime, but if it was his personal choice to limit himself to being the immaculate corporate pitchman, then it is also fair, especially in light of the N.B.A.’s newly implemented dress code, to offer Jordan as exhibit A in the argument that clothes do not necessarily make the man.