Note from Jack: The following is the latest in a series of open letters to the owners of Chicago’s major sports teams, asking them to release stronger, more tangible statements opposing police violence, specifically against Black lives.
An unknown stat makes that legendary game even more impressive and helps explain why fans get angry when stars rest.
(Originally published June 8, 2017, at the now defunct 16WinsARing.com)
If you want to fully understand Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” you first have to understand one of Michael Jordan’s greatest statistics: 357.
It’s a stat that is rarely discussed. The number most associated with MJ, besides 23, is 6. As in “6 rings.” Once upon a time, MJ’s career was defined by a melange of numbers. People thought about 63 and 69. They pictured him in 9 and 45. They were astounded by 7, and later 10, for his scoring titles. They grimaced at .202 and glowed with pride over 72–10.
No number in NBA history serves as more of a mic drop in current hoops debates than MJ’s 6. The figure may be augmented in different ways, like “6–0” (his Finals record) or “6 for 6” (his Finals MVPs). But, unquestionably, 6 is the number. He likes it like that.
To know why a Cubs win can elicit fireworks on a Wednesday night and grandparents giggling and strangers hugging on the moonlit streets of Chicago, Illinois, you have to first know what broke those people. Mine was Game 7, 2003. I couldn’t drink after that game. I was in college and I was too sad to drink.
I called my parents on my walk home that night and kept muttering variations of “I thought they’d do it. I really thought they’d do it.” My mother comforted me. Then my father took the phone, heard me out, and said:
9 FEB 2023 — On Devin Hester’s Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy, with Laurence Holmes on “Football Night in Chicago” on NBC Sports Chicago
6 FEB 2023 — On Devin Hester’s Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy and a look at the candidacies of Peanut Tillman, Lance Briggs, Olin Kreutz, Ruben Brown and Randall Cunningham, with Bill Zimmerman on “Bears Banter” on Windy City Gridiron (video) and Audacy (audio)
20 JAN 2023 — On George McCaskey’s evolution on Black hiring with regards to Kevin Warren, with Laurence Holmes on “Bernstein & Holmes” on 670 The Score
16 JAN 2023 — On George McCaskey’s evolution on Black hiring and the modernization of the franchise with regards to Kevin Warren, with Steven Negishi on The Double A Team podcast
5 JAN 2023 — On Virginia McCaskey turning 100 along with a look at the Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacies of Devin Hester and Lance Briggs, with Alex Shapiro on Football Night in Chicago on NBC Sports Chicago
1 DEC 2022 — Featured NFL historian for “American Football” podcast series covering the early days of the NFL, produced by HISTORY Channel, SMAC Entertainment / Michael Strahan and Misher Films, and narrated by Kate Mara, released on Audible (here me in the trailer, with excerpts from episode 7 on Red Grange and episode 8 on the 1926 fight for Red Grange)
26 SEP 2019 — On the Bears’ 1936 throwback jerseys, George Halas and the NFL’s 12-year ban on black players, with Paul Lukas of Uni Watch, Sports Illustrated (written article, and though he did not use the interview we did, I want to include this here)
25 SEP 2019 — On the Bears’ 1936 throwback jerseys, George Halas and the NFL’s 12-year ban on black players, with James Wickham on BBC
From November 2010 to May 2011, I wrote for a site called “The Sports Blog Network,” a sports website launched by Chris Reed. The site folded, as websites do, and at some point in the past year (maybe longer?) the content was removed.
I loved the work I did there and appreciated the opportunity Chris gave me (thanks man!) so I am reposting all of those stories on ReadJack.
A Cub to the last
Originally published on Sports Blog Network December 3, 2010
I never understood the bru-ha-ha over Ron Santo’s heel click.
It is, when you think about it, the most benign of celebrations. When I think of heel clicks, I think of Bugs Bunny cartoons and old men bowling. If Derrek Lee or Paul Konerko let loose the occasional heel click, we’d chuckle and call them “old-timey.” If Dorothy had jumped while trying to return to Kansas, and if, instead of being a young girl on her way home, she was a third baseman for the 75-44 Chicago Cubs in the summer of ’69, the baseball press would have chalked her up as a gloater and suggested she stay in Oz until she learns some manners.
Santo was the embodiment of that ’69 club. As my dad tells it, the 1969 Chicago Cubs were a rollicking good show, deft and powerful, afraid of no one. The same, he tells me, could be said of Santo.
Fitting then that it was Santo’s heel click that baseball pundits pegged as the karmic catalyst for their fateful collapse, and that of all the players who could have been waiting on-deck when fans at Shea Stadium released a black cat upon the field, that it was Santo who watched this curs-ed kitten prance on by…
After nearly 18 months of basketball inaction — including absences from 17 playoff games and the 2012 Olympics — Derrick Rose returns to the hardwood tonight against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. As such, I am compiling my full Derrick Rose archives, which includes all stories about him or peripherally about him. Enjoy!
NOTE: Some of the below links no longer work, either because the story is offline or the URL has been changed. Google turns up a lot of these stories, so if you want to read one that isn’t working, you can definitely search, and I can help you find whatever you’re looking for. Hit me @readjack. Thank you for reading!
A Bucktown apartment, ESPN on the screen, twitter on the computer, and two shelves packed with sports books. I take a long scan of those shelves; seemingly every book that pops into my head is there. Friday Night Lights, Playing For Keeps, the Jordan Rules, Summer of ’49…
When I first read Jon Greenberg’s column on ESPN Chicago, I assumed he was a born-and-bred Chicagoan. A north shore suburbanite, probably. He had a feel for the city that felt authentic. Turns out, Greenberg grew up a Pittsburgh fan in the near-border town of Steubenville, OH. His worst moment growing up was a Game 7, but it wasn’t the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, but rather the 1992 National League Championship Series.
In the 17th installment of my Chicago journalism People With Passion interview series, ESPN Chicago columnist Jon Greenberg discusses his path to ESPN, his love of Royko, his understanding of Chicago sports fans, and why “don’t write for free” is faulty advice. Continue reading “People With Passion: Jon Greenberg”