We all have those moments in our lives. You know – The ones where you close your eyes and you picture the scene, and it causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up. Maybe even gets you a little choked up because of the magnitude of the situation. Some people say these moments are fleeting. They don’t come around very often. Perhaps the moment you get married. Or at the birth of your first child. Or being there for a buzzer beater in game 7 of the Finals. For me, this moment came in March of 1995 when I was 8 years old. And every time I tell someone the story, I start to get choked up and I worry I’m going to cry. But I still remember that day like it was yesterday. One of those fleeting moments of pure joy.
1995 was a tough year for me. I was 8 years old, and my parents had informed me that we were packing up our shit in LA and moving to some city called Bangalore in India. I don’t think I forgave them till 1999 for doing that to me. To make matters worse, my beloved Chicago Bulls no longer had Michael Jordan on the team, after winning their three-peat in 93 because MJ was off trying to prove he could play the most boring sport in the world. I don’t know if I’ve still forgiven him for that. What could have been. 8 straight. I guarantee it.
March 18th, 1995. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday. Remember, this was a time with no internet. You couldn’t just ask Siri a question about the world. And I was 8. My parents had briefly mentioned they had heard some news about Michael Jordan around dinner time, but I wasn’t allowed to watch TV after dinner. And so I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was, there was a chance that God was going to hoop once more.
I went to bed that night around 8pm, absolutely restless. Unable to sleep, I quietly grabbed a pocket radio I owned – a maroon colored device with a picture of Michael Jackson on it if memory serves me right. Let’s ignore the creepiness of that memory for now. Only one of the earphones worked, so I remember lying on my side, with one ear plugged in, listening to various radio channels in the hopes that someone would say something about Mike. It must have been a couple of hours in, probably around 10:30pm or so, when a woman’s voice came on the radio. When I close my eyes to this day, I can still hear her like she’s standing in front of me.
“Michael Jordan announced today, he’s coming back to basketball with two words. “I’m Back”….”
I didn’t wait to hear the rest of what she said. I jumped out of bed like a cat on YouTube with a cucumber behind it. I ran through the house, radio in one hand, yelling at the top of my lungs, “he’s coming back! He’s coming back! Michael Jordan is coming back!”
I remember arriving in the living room, where my parents were both sitting on the couch talking. Everything after that is a blur. Probably because I was more euphoric than I’ve ever been in my life, and more likely because they probably yelled at me and sent my ass to bed. But man, to this day, some 23 years later, I don’t know if I’ve experienced another moment of such pure, unadulterated joy.
It’s thinking back on moments like these, that my entire life makes sense to me. I was destined to do what I do. It was written in the stars decades ago. I am the epitome of “Ball Is Life”. I’m also one of the luckiest humans on earth to have been given every opportunity to profit from my passion. Writing the words “I’m back” in this post sent a shiver down my spine. One of the great days in history, and a moment that I will remember forever.