Happy 50th To The Greatest Winner In Chicago Sports History


Michael Jordan turns 50 today. (picture courtesy of sports.yahoo.com)

Yes, this isn’t post isn’t all about hockey, but I thought we could stop during this record breaking start to the season to talk about the greatest winner in Chicago sports history.  If you think about it growing up as a kid in the last 70’s and 80’s it was a great time to be a Chicago sports fan, some of the greatest to ever wear their collective uniforms played during this era.

The Cubs had a young 2nd baseman by the name of Ryne Sandberg who help lead the team to their first appearance in a playoff game since 1945.  The Cubs as we all know still don’t have a World Series win but at least the 84 and 89 teams gave us some hope and something to cheer for instead just looking at the greatness of Wrigley Field.

The 85 Bears won the Super Bowl and as great as that team was, each passing year the lore of that team seems to increase.  The real benefit of being a fan then was to watch the greatest running back of all-time take the field each Sunday.  Walter Payton was the greatest running back in the history of the NFL in my opinion and getting to watch him play each week was special.  Watching Payton punish each tackler is something no running back has ever duplicated. The Bears were winners in the 80’s but when the Ditka era ended so to did the regular playoff appearances.

The Blackhawks had some great teams in the 80’s which were led by Denis Savard.  He was spectacular and exciting to watch with the Spin-o-rama to boot.  He anchored the line with Steve Larmer and Al Secord that put up goal after goal. The Hawks reached the playoffs every year but it was the great Edmonton Oilers teams that kept them from hoisting the Cup.

The real winner arrived in Chicago in 1984 with an Olympic Gold medal.  Michael Jordan didn’t win a championship until 1991 but he made Chicago Bulls basketball exciting to watch and changed the landscape of so many other things that today’s athletes should thank him on a daily basis (not that his ego really needs that).  It’s as simple as the Air Jordan shoes.  I remember having to get a pair the first year they came out but our basketball coach wouldn’t let us buy the classic red white and black design because it didn’t go with our team colors.  An entire generation before us didn’t get to wear cool shoes they all were wearing Chuck Taylors, and kids today don’t understand how one brand changed the shoe business forever.

The real reason though to talk about MJ turning 50 is the winning department.  Chicago was always the 2nd city and so many more jokes about that because our baseball teams have been so awful for decades.  Jordan and the Bulls six titles made it feel like Chicago was the #1 sports city in America! When they went 72-10 they were followed around like rock stars, and then they produced a title.  Jordan made winning not a once in a generation like event but a routine event on a daily basis.  There are statures of him around the world (most wearing the wrong number) but it was Jordan’s ability to take a city that was used to lovable losers and turn them into a city that expected championships as his greatest attribute.

The Hawks have to see that Jordan statue every time they play at the UC and even though the 2010 Stanley Cup was special lets hope that driving by that statue reminds them that one title is good (just ask the 85 Bears) but to become legends multiple Cups must be won!  It’s a great beginning to the 2013 Hawks story, but if MJ was telling the story he would demand a championship at the end of the 2013 story!!

Happy 50 MJ! Hopefully the 2013 Hawks will follow in your Championship ways!!

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