I was reading an ESPN blog called True Hoop by Henry Abbott today and came across this really interesting excerpt from a Larry Bird book called “Bird Watching”. The excerpt is basically a recount of a story from Larry Bird when he was on the set of the Michael Jordan movie ‘Space Jam’. When I say “Michael Jordan movie” I really mean it. The man was the star of the show, and given his status in the NBA and pop culture at the time, his presence in the movie made it the hit with young NBA fans that it was. But Larry Legend knew MJ on a more business and personal level than the rest of the cast. And he wasn’t buying into the hype. In fact he wasn’t even respecting MJ’s rider for snacks and beverages…
The movie people really took care of us. They had this big room in the hotel filled with food, drinks, anything you wanted. One cooler had beer, another had soda, another had sandwiches. And then there was this big cooler marked MICHAEL ONLY.
You weren’t supposed to touch that one, because it was all Michael Jordan’s special stuff they flew in just for him. So one day Bill Murray and I are sitting in there, and I go over to Michael’s cooler and lift up the lid.
There was this girl there, and her only job was to make sure everything was just right for Michael Jordan, and she starts yelling at me, “Larry, you can’t go in there!” I said, “What are you talking about? That’s bull. Everyone here is family.” She was getting all nervous and said,”No, no. Those are all the things Michael told me he wanted, and if you take something out of there, Michael won’t be able to have it, and we just can’t let that happen!”
Bill Murray is laughing the whole time listening to this, because whenever Michael walked into the room he always went to one of the other coolers and pulled something out, just like the rest of us. He hardly ever opened his own cooler.
Anyhow, I waited until the girl left, then I reached in and started grabbing stuff out of Michael’s cooler and throwing it out to the crew, all over the set. I threw it everywhere! Gatorade bottles, some special drink he liked, candy bars … She was so mad at me.
For the rest of our stay, every time I went by that cooler I took something out.
I love MJ more than most, but for some reason this story by Larry just made me smile. Sometimes even a star as bright as MJ needs to be brought down to earth for a minute.