OregonLive.com's John Canzano has a nice article on Michael Jordan's son Jeff, an Illinois basketball player with impressive perspective:
Jeff has the best vertical jump (46 inches) on his college team. He's a pretty good defender, too. And with the hand injury that Illinois teammate Chester Frazier suffered in the Big Ten Conference tournament, Jeff went from playing just a few meaningless minutes a game to averaging 17 minutes in the team's last two games.
By the way, he's even scored 31 points.
That's for the 2008-09 season.
Michael Jordan, then a baby-faced sophomore at North Carolina, made the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA championship game. Jeff had a career-high five points against Detroit in December, including his only three-point basket this season.
"I'm filling a role," he said.
Understand. This kid is Frank Sinatra Jr. He's Laila Ali. He knows what Picasso's four children knew. The opening act was an avalanche of talent, success and electricity.
. . .
Most of us go to sports for an escape. But where does Michael Jordan's son escape?
We're talking about a college kid who tattooed the word "RELENTLESS" on his right biceps and "CONFIDENT" on his left. His father didn't need to stain his skin with ink to make you see those things. And I'm thinking it explains a lot when you hear the son of one of the most competitive and legendary athletes of all time explain that he and his father haven't played a simple game of one-on-one in years.
"I don't think we've played maybe more than two or three times in my entire life," he said.
Four months ago, Jeff decided he needed another tattoo. And he said that with a fair amount of pride. This one is of his father's Nike "Jumpman" logo, soaring over the Chicago skyline. Said Jeff, who wants to intern at Nike this summer, "I hope I didn't violate copyright law or anything."
This is a player who is majoring in psychology and hopes someday to make it in the NBA -- as a sports psychologist. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Because Jeff said he compartmentalizes the advice he gets from his parents ("dad for basketball advice, mom for just about everything else"). Being the son of the greatest basketball player of all time makes you uniquely qualified, too.
There's something deeply explanatory in the fact that just about every star basketball player in the nation wants to "Be Like Mike" and wear No. 23.
But Jeff wears No. 13.
Maybe you think relief and joy comes in suiting up for a ranked college team, or even making the NCAA Tournament field. Well, relief for Michael Jordan's son came midway through this college season. That's when Illinois coach Bruce Weber approached him in the locker room and told Jeff he'd worked so hard in practice and given so much of himself that they were putting him on athletic scholarship for the spring semester.
When the coach left, Jeff cried.
His family wasn't struggling to pay his tuition, heavens no. He didn't really need the acceptance from his teammates, either. He says they did a great job of making him feel welcome. But that scholarship was validation to the rest of us. It means Jeff Jordan is a good basketball player.
Said Jeff: "Lots of good players never get this far."