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Advice To Budding Stars: Don’t Be Like Mike!

You know what’s awesome?

Remembering watching basketball as a kid and seeing Michael Jordan, the ‘god’ of basketball, claim title after title. Seeing him overcome illness to will his team to victory. Witnessing him shed a tear after winning a title after his father died. Watching him build an empire via Nike.

You know what’s not awesome?

The bitter man who now hides behind the moniker ‘MJ’ and the Jumpman logo.

I won’t sit here and try to convince you he isn’t the greatest to ever play the game (he probably is), but give this Sports Illustrated article a read and see if it does not tarnish your opinion of Michael Jordan a bit —> A letter to Michael Jordan: Shame on you for refusing helping Pop. Don’t worry, it’s not a Thameltoe piece.

This article profiles Pop Herring, the man infamously known for ‘cutting’ Jordan in high school. Herring is not known for coaching Jordan at Laney High school in Wilmington, NC, but that’s closer to the truth. Jordan was merely placed on the JV team as a sophomore — not cut from Laney’s program as MJ implies still to this day. Sure, I bet that placement on JV was a great motivator for a young, immature (emphasis on immature) Michael. I bet he went and worked hard on his game every day to prove to Pop that he was wrong. But maybe ‘wrong’ was the improper word. Pop may have been right in the fall of Jordan’s sophomore year. What Michael Jordan should have been focusing on was proving to Pop and the world that he could be great — not that anyone was ‘wrong’ about him.

Years have passed and now Jordan is the most legendary player in the sports history. On the other hand, Pop Herring has led a life of turmoil, fueled by mental illness, and has been down and out in many different ways since Jordan left Laney High. But MJ still calls out Pop Herring for being ‘wrong’ about him and has refused to let the old man off the hook, let alone help him out. Jordan bitterly recalls his high school days and how Pop made a ‘mistake’ by cutting placing him on JV.

Check out this article and Pop’s struggles, along with how Jordan has not matured much since his high school days. MJ has done unbelievable things on the basketball court — but he has also been a philanderer, blown tons of money gambling, and been a renowned jerk, as Pop Herring’s story shows. So take a lesson young superstars (I’m talking to you, Anthony Davis): Don’t be like Mike. At least off the court. Anyone who holds on to bitter, misplaced resentment feelings from their sophomore year of high school isn’t someone you want to admire on a personal level.

It’s sad that my favorite player and idol as a child turned out to be a lackluster human being, so here’s to hoping that my current favorite players don’t end up the same way.

Article written by Chris Thomas

41 Comments for Advice To Budding Stars: Don’t Be Like Mike!

  1. Badams
    10:05 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    No denying his talent, but I always found him to be quite the asshole. Same goes for Kobe.

  2. Dan Aykroyd
    10:22 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Of all the people who are in need, why should MJ help him? He honestly did little for his career (and money). There are far better things for this man’s charity to go to.

  3. gog8ors
    10:27 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    One of the better pieces that I’ve read on this site, well done Chris Thomas.

  4. sharon
    10:27 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    as I have always maintained. MJ is probably the best to have ever played the game and as such could influence young boys and men in a way no one else could. so what does he do? does he advocate that these young boys/men finish school? stay off drugs? not father babies out of wedlock or if they do, be a responsible father? no. he sells underwear. or batteries. or whatever. he already has more money than God. but apparently that is not enough.

  5. Zoso
    10:29 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Well if it’s any consolation he won’t spend money on a stylist either.

  6. mike
    10:34 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    really? so just cause mj used him as motivation to excel in life and doesnt give the guy a hand out he is a bad person? hell im broke and taylor swift dont give me money is she a bad person? no. If people are writing stories on this why dont they offer to help hell why dont u help him? Could mj help? yes does he have too? no. That is really bad luck it happened to that guy but its not mjs fault and this brings a bad light on one of the greatest to ever live. Yes i do know that mj isnt prefect but is any1?

  7. MJ'sPRGuy
    10:39 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    No news on UK basketball today? SI writes an article based on Pops point of view and it makes the KSR news? I’ve got a feeling if MJ did throw Pops some stacks it would not have made KSR. Move along here… Chris Thomas has no idea of what’s really going on. Next BTI

  8. Luc Longley
    10:49 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Wonder if MJ will have a change of heart while taking a dump reading the SI article bout pops and his hard-times? Maybe he’ll ship him some new bvd’s and all will be happy!

  9. DjKurtt
    10:54 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Being a dj for ten years now I have dj’ed plenty of celeb parties around derby including jermain duprie’s. And that was th night I kicked Jordan out of my dj booth for refusing to acknowledge me, and his personal security saying “don’t talk to mr Jordan” that’s when he got a big FU and get the F%#€ out of my dj booth

  10. christhomassux
    11:02 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    is this post a joke? who cares if MJ wouldn’t piss on this dude if he was on fire. he owes us nothing, he’s an athlete, possibly the greatest ever. he can act like an ass all he wants.

  11. Kris
    11:03 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t be like Mike? So budding stars don’t want to strive to be the best of all-time? This post, like the article is absurd. Michael Jordan made an huge impact on getting the game of basketball to where it is today. I don’t see how any fan of the game can put him down. Put yourself in his shoes, why should he be good to this guy?

  12. tyson
    11:08 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    i read the article earlier today. it sounds like the writer has a grudge against MJ for some reason. MJ doesn’t owe his former coach anything, just like Bill Gates didn’t owe his high school principal anything. Sure MJ may not be the greatest person, but he earned his money and can do with it what he wants.

  13. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    11:21 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    shitty move by mike but get off your high horses

  14. 44 Stitches
    11:23 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Give MJ a Ef’in break!!!! How do we not know “Pops” wasn’t a scumbag before he hit rock bottom. Mental illness or not. My high school coach’s were all jerkwads. Jerks I can handle but my H.S. basketball coach was a low life scumbag piece of garbage. I’m not talking about as a coach but as a human being and as a man. He still coach’s basketball down here in the Atlanta area and has built the school he’s at now into a Ga powerhouse. Cool good for him but the man off the court was a scumbag and I’m willing to bet still is.

  15. Mom
    11:26 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Is Michael obligated to help Pop? Nah, he doesn’t, just like he’s not obligated to you or to me because we helped build his stardom. (He’s nothing without the fans.) But should he help Pop? Yeah, probably. Ultimately, it would appear that pride, immaturity, and greed are at the very root of the way that Michael has treated Pop.

    1. He is prideful for dragging Pop through ridicule and shame. Evidence: Michael’s Hall of Fame speech.

    2. He is immature for continually turning a cold shoulder to Pop. Okay Mike, we get it. Pop made a horrible mistake by “cutting you”. But your glory days of suiting up for the Bulls are long gone. Heck, they were gone before you even retired (see: Washington Wizards). Give up the whole drama of blaming Pop.

    3. He is greedy for turning a cold shoulder to Pop, who was his mentor, motivator, and coach. Michael has more money that he can count. Evidence: To this very day, he blows his money gambling. Could he not provide Pop with the help he needs?

    Disclaimer: If you took a snapshot of my day – even today – you would likely find pride, immature, and greed throughout my thoughts, words, and actions. I am not claiming to be exempt from these behaviors. Michael has a great opportunity to serve those around him though, to provide for the very people who helped him get to where he is today. As a fan, I would like to see him give back to those who gave him the pathways to being th greatest basketball player.

  16. Bradley
    11:27 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    So u kick Michael Jordan out for not acknowledging your Royal DJness? Lol. Sounds like your ego is twice the size of MJ’s. Just push play and sit there. You get paid to play songs, not decide who is worthy of your music playing presence. He’s the greatest ever at what he did. You do something every person on the planet can do. Bravo big shot, bravo. What amazing feat do you perform in your spare time? Walk? Eat? Breathe?

  17. Christhomassux
    11:38 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    You are worse than bti

  18. Carlzwa11
    12:07 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    News is really this slow that you make up a garbage piece like this? MJ all day and twice on Sundays

  19. Simple
    12:09 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Bad post from a bad mass media piece. Being “placed” on JV is very similar to being cut. And while only MJ and Pop know full story, the fact that you’re using this half-truth to hold up Jordan as symbolic of “what others should not become” is ridiculous.

    12:56 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    @19, you’re a schmuck. Sophomores don’t typically play Varsity. Being put on JV isn’t being cut, you practice with varsity and pending good play, have a chance to move up.

    This is a GREAT article and had a good tie-in with UK, as Davis has done much more at this point in his career than Jordan did. Plus, MJ is notorious for being an addictive gambler, having a vivacious dating life within his marriage, and having a god complex. Pretty “simple” to MJ from the vantage point this article was written from.

    …something to be said for the fact that Jordan was boo’d in Chicago (of all places) for introducing his old coach as the guy that cut him.

  21. alacat
    2:02 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve seen nor heard a single thing about Anthony Davis that would indicate he is nothing but an exceptional young man. Who are you to call him out and why? What has he done to deserve this?

  22. travisbickle
    2:04 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone needs to lay off of MJ. Isn’t it enough that he’s employed thousands of Indonesian children so your kid can have his newest pair of shoes while sitting the bench during youth league games?

    Gambling debts don’t pay themselves you selfish aholes.

  23. Buckets
    5:56 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, Jordan should go around giving handouts to everyone just because he has a lot of money… Gimme a break. Jordan doesn’t owe his former high school coach a thing.

  24. Chase
    7:11 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    great post

  25. kes
    7:27 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    14. your coaches were’nt jerks, you just were’nt good at anything

  26. king cat
    7:56 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    nice article but why did you have to call out anthony davis? he has done nothing to show he is capable
    of being an a$$hole.

  27. DEasy
    8:26 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Screw Pop. MJ shouldn’t care. And even if he should, what gives this author the right to call Jordan out and act like he’s the worst person to ever live? All these athletes out committing felonies and we’re worried about MJ giving handouts to someone he hasn’t seen in 20 years? What a joke.

  28. yesterdays
    8:44 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Hack Job by the writer. This is not Tommy Gunn failing to acknowledge Rocky Balboa for training him.

  29. Will S
    8:49 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    He’s killed the Bobcats, too. Add that to his legacy.

  30. My name is Gabe brah
    9:08 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    MJ is a scumbag

  31. H.A.Milton
    9:17 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    I didn’t know MJ was this Pop’s legal guardian…

  32. _Blackhawk_
    9:36 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    This article is taking a shot at Jordan that is unnecessary . Why should Jordan help this guy. He did nothing to advance his career, unless demoting him was to help him. My guess is there is a whole other side to the story that has other things going on that would give a better picture of their history. Just because he has money and knew this guy doesn’t mean he should drop everything and help him out. Crazy. It seems more likely to me that the author has a beef with Jordan personally and is using the sad story of ‘Pop’ as a way to attack him.

  33. Rick Roy
    9:46 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    You guys are ridiculous! This isn’t some random stranger that he should help. This is his former coach who unselfishly help Jordan…let him in the gym at 6 a.m. on Saturdays, opened his house to him, let him borrow his car, etc. Now that doesn’t mean he should absolutely help him, but I know it shows that he cared about MJ before he was a superstar. I know I would shell out a few thousand to help my old high school basketball coach in a time of need. Thousands to him is like a regular person giving someone $20. MJ is obviously an arrogant prick besides the fact. But with that being said, who knows if there is other history that happened between him and MJ that the author doesn’t know about.

  34. rofl
    10:14 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    One thing you don’t like and he’s a lackluster human being…

    Did MJ recently support the Romney campaign or something? Libs and their tangled panties.

  35. Blue Bayou
    11:24 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Overreact much? One negative article and you start trashing your “idol” publicly. Did you look into the motive behind the article? Any biases the writer has? Anything besides the face value of the words in print? Sure doesn’t sound like it.

  36. wtf
    11:48 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Dear Chris Thomas – never trash your childhood idols. Who are you to question what grudges MJ holds on too. Those grudges make him who he is. Being cut from varsity all those years made him the player he was. The player you idolized as a kid, the player with six rings, two gold medals, the king of an empire. He used Pop Herring as his motivation to succeed and succeed he did. More than you ever will. MJ isn’t bitter. He’s still motivated by being cut. Admire him instead of begrudging him. MJ has made sports what it is today. Don’t try to bring down his iconic stature because you can’t follow him on the court anymore. He is still the greatest ever and the person in second place is far behind. Anything else from you Chris Thomas is jealousy.

  37. The Player
    11:54 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Get serious! I don’t think MJ is a lackluster human being for not taking care of his former HIGH SCHOOL coach. There is no contractual agreement for former players to shuffle money to their former high school coaches regardless of what the history is between them. Please stop applying tarnish to MJ’s name. Sheesh!

  38. slownewsday
    11:59 am August 15, 2012 Permalink

    I heard the lunch lady of that school was down and out too. Can we ask MJ to give her a house too?

  39. Jared
    1:18 pm August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Are you serious!!!! This site keeps getting worse and worse! Your trashing Michael Jordan? Really? We don’t know how Pop was back then. He could have been a terrible coach or A-hole. Remove this crap and get back to sports!

  40. Ratchet
    1:53 pm August 15, 2012 Permalink

    He could definitely send his old coach a pair of shoes..maybe MKG will rub off on him a little.

  41. Biglaw Dawgin'
    3:57 pm August 15, 2012 Permalink

    19 – I agree.
    20 – I disagree.

    Although not making the varsity team is not technically called “being cut” (cut infers you were on the team at one point), it is the equivalent. By not making the varsity team, Pop was saying, “MJ, you’re not good enough to be on this team…yet.” He didn’t dress, he didn’t get to sit on the bench. So he wasn’t part of the team. It’s the same thing, there’s no other way around it. Plus, being on just JV is an embarrassment when you’re a sophomore.

    Chris – I don’t see what the big deal is. In MJ’s eyes he was good enough to be on varsity. In Pop’s eyes, he wasn’t. What’s wrong with Jordan thinking the guy was wrong? Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with Pop holding his position either.

    But to think Jordan owes this guy something? Come on man, don’t be naive. All professional athletes–and even all real world professionals–had some sort of motivation to get where they were. Are they required to pay back those that gave them motivation to reach the top? I mean, it would certainly be a nice gesture, but no one expects it. Especially here since Jordan’s motivation was a negative type (i.e., hatred for, in MJ’s eyes, screwing him over). That’s like saying Michael Phelps owes Chris Humphries something for beating his ass in swimming when they were 12 (assuming Phelps used that as motivation). Or any other athlete who’s lost and been inspired by it.