Michael Jordan may have been more talented on the basketball court than he was at school, but having signed thousands of autographs in his time one would have expected him to at least spell the President of America’s name correctly when it came to signing a birthday basketball gift for him.
As the story goes, Obama’s former Senior advisor, David Axelrod, wanted to do something special for the president’s 50th birthday, and went ahead and got a basketball sent over to Jordan for an autograph.
As Axelrod told New York Magazine in a recent interview,
“When the president turned 50, I wanted to get him something special … so I sent it to Jordan to have him sign it for me.” In black Sharpie, Jordan scrawled, To Barrack: you still owe me dinner. Wishing you well, Michael Jordan.
I gave it to the president, and he said, ‘I can’t put this up, he misspelled my name!’ So I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take it’.”
Back in 1996 when Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate, Michael Jordan was still a member of the Chicago Bulls. He retired in 1998 and moved on to become the general manager and then un-retired shooting guard for the Washington Wizards from 2000-03.
Even though he changed jobs, Michael Jordan retained a residence in a Chicago suburb, and he kept that property until he became a general manager, then part-owner, and eventually majority owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats midway through 2006.
By 2004, Obama had won the hearts of thousands of Americans, after he delivered a nationally-televised keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, prior to winning a seat in the U.S. Senate during the fall of 2004.
Having risen to fame quickly, Barack Obama quickly moved into a very public presidential candidate mode, and then became America’s first African-American president in 2008.
That just makes the fact that Michael Jordan spelled Barack Obama’s name incorrectly even worse, an error that Jordan won’t be allowed to forget for many years to come.