Commentary Magazine


Michael Jordon

To the Editor:

Joseph Epstein has been one of my favorite essayists for years for many reasons, not least of which is his ability to use language with elegance and precision. Thus, I assume my confusion after reading his article on Michael Jordan [“He Flew Through the Air,” June] is my fault, not his.

The confusion is caused by the fact that Mr. Epstein deliberately distinguishes between Jordan’s ability to jump high and his ability to “maintain himself in the air,” and goes on to refer to this ability as “hang time.” Lots of sports broadcasters apparently believe that Jordan can somehow negate the law of gravity, but I am hoping that Mr. Epstein had something else in mind.

Kenneth Burke
Las Vegas, Nevada

_____________

 

To the Editor:

Joseph Epstein has written a fine article. I admit to being a fellow Jordanologist. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in history. Those of us who had the pleasure of seeing him in person feel very fortunate indeed.

Jordan was always the star, which is why he retired. He could have played for several more years as one of the best, but he would no longer have been the best. But he went out bigger than life in the last game he played, against Utah last year. In the final 30 seconds, he made two baskets, stealing the ball to score his winning shot with five seconds left. It was an ending deserving of Hollywood. But if a novel had been written with Jordan as the main character, Hollywood would have rejected it as “not believable.”

Philip J. Schiller
Chicago, Illinois

_____________

 

To the Editor:

Joseph Epstein’s piece on Michael Jordan was, as usual, on the mark, written with the wit and style that have made him the premier essayist of the past three decades.

Sidney Helfant
Brooklyn, New York

_____________

 

To the Editor:

Two corrections to Joseph Epstein’s otherwise engaging piece on Michael Jordan. First, the 1999 NBA season was not “truncated by a long strike,” as Mr. Epstein maintains. The NBA, along with the owners of the individual franchises, imposed a lockout on the players in an ultimately successful attempt to renegotiate the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement. Second, Wilt Chamberlain was a member of two NBA championship teams, the first in 1967 (not 1963, as Mr. Epstein reports), when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers, and the second in 1972, when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams, with respective records of 68-13 and 69-13, are widely acknowledged to be among the best in NBA history.

Michael S. Vail
Morristown, New Jersey

_____________

 

Joseph Epstein writes:

To answer Kenneth Burke: I used “hang time” to mean the length of time a man can, at the height of his jump, keep himself in the air, which does not defy gravity but does tend, however briefly, to make one believe it does not exist. Edwin Denby, the great ballet critic, in his essay “Flight of the Dancer,” describes Alicia Markova, at the height of her jump, “serenely calm with nothing underneath her . . . as if she were at a genteel tea party, a tea party where everyone naturally sat down in the air.” That, I believe, is hang time.

I greatly regret the factual errors that Michael S. Vail has found in my essay, and I thank him for pointing them out.

_____________

 

Correction

In Justus Reid Weiner’s article, “ ‘My Beautiful Old House’ and Other Fabrications by Edward Said,” which appeared last month, the sentence (page 25, column 2), “In that city lived Wadie Said’s brother Boulos Yusef, his wife Nabiha, and their five children” should be amended to read: “In that city lived Wadie Said’s sister Nabiha, her husband (and cousin) Boulos Yusef Said, and their five children.” We regret the error.

_____________

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.