During my lunch break at work today, I was reading an issue of ESPN magazine, as it featured an article on Michael Jordan turning 50 (I think the magazine was a few weeks old). Like many, I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan in the 90s and was intrigued by what the story might have to say about that American icon.
The story was very sad, for it painted the picture of a man with no regard for God and no knowledge of Christ, whose power and fame have led him to a lifestyle of narcissism and childish behavior.
Although it is not surprising that his inherent sin nature is corrupted even further by his power and fame, I was surprised to learn that Michael Jordan’s code name amongst his security team is “Yahweh”. The writer says that Michael is “used to being the most important person in every room he enters”. Below is an article commenting on the ESPN article.
Michael gets what Michael wants. If he is on his private jet, and his entourage is trying to sleep, but he is awake, he will turn on the lights and blast the radio. There are other things revealed in the article that make it clear the revered and beloved Michael Jordan is nothing more than a typical tyrant of the earth, in the manner of Pharaoh or Herod, men who both ruled from on high and claimed divine status for themselves.
Whether or not the nickname of “Yahweh” is a literal claim of divinity is not the point, for I think one can deduce that functionally Michael thinks he is a god, even if he doesn’t say it out loud. The mere fact that he allows himself to have the nickname of Yahweh says a lot about who he thinks he is. Is it a normal thing for a regular man to have a nickname of “god”, let alone the divine name of “Yahweh”?
It is easy to look up to athletes. Sports are fun to play and fun to watch. When we see someone excelling in a sport we like, it is easy to reduce our perception of them to merely what we see on the field of play. Yet athletes, including Michael Jordan, are not gods. They are not even heroes, at least not by Biblical standards. Professional athletes play a sport well and often get well paid for it. Have they done anything worth boasting about before God? Have they done anything to earn the adoration of the church of Jesus Christ?
As it stands now, despite all he has accomplished on this earth, Air Jordan will end up six feet under ground, like most others who have lived (Elijah being a rare exception). Make no mistake – MJ will suffer an eternity of torment under the wrath of God for rejecting God’s chosen Son, Jesus Christ. But should MJ believe he is a sinner, and turn to Christ, he will be forgiven, despite his bearing the code name of Yahweh, a claim to divinity which is a total offense to the real YHWH and a sin worthy of death.
Should the infamous 23 turn to Jesus, that would truly be something worth cheering about, just as it was when all current Christians, who once were pagan and thought themselves to be gods (except without the money or power of MJ), turned to Christ and were born again.