A Little More MJ
The story below is from my friend and 2016 Olympic Bid colleague Mark Mitten, who shared the story of meeting Michael Jordan and filming the video below.
"In honor of The Last Dance, I wanted to share the super cut of the filming session we did with Michael Jordan during the Chicago Olympic Bid and the story behind it.
Given his international fame as one of the greatest athletes in history, it was obvious from the start of the 2016 Bid that we wanted to feature Michael and his love for Chicago and the Olympics.
There was no shortage of people affiliated with the Bid that claimed to be a FOM (friend of Michael) and could pick up the phone to make the ask when we needed him. When we finally decided it was the right time to film him, we put the word out to this network to make the request.
The result? No one was able to do it. Not even the FOMs.
With the clock ticking, I called Michael's agent, Estee Portnoy. I didn't know her; didn't have an introduction; it was a cold call.
Estee was terrific. Warm, professional and committed to help the cause. By the end of the call we had negotiated 30 minutes to film Michael at the Deerfield Hyatt the following week. No press. No outsiders allowed during the filming. No autographs. Done.
The next week, we had turned the ballroom at the Deerfield Hyatt into a soundstage and were waiting for Michael. He pulled up in his 4-door black Bentley in front of the Hyatt, leaving it there as he walked into the hotel. I was the host committee, introducing myself and explaining what were up to and what we would like him to do. I also said this was a secure set- no press and no autographs.
Michael couldn't have been nicer.
I handed him over to our director for the shoot Tyler Jay (who beautifully captured the essence of the man) and our interviewer George Hirthler. While I would have loved to interview MJ, this was George's sweet spot and I knew intuitively that they would hit off. And, boy did they. The footage shows how at ease Michael was thanks to George and Tyler.
At 25 minutes, I told MJ and the team we needed to wrap it up.
Michael ended up staying 45 minutes- making sure we covered everything we needed. A real pro.
I escorted him back to his car and made an ask along the way. "Would you consider coming to the final presentation in Copenhagen?" "When is it?" I told him the date. "Can't, it's the start of Wizards' training camp."
"Too bad" I said. "President Obama is going to be there and was hoping you and he could play a game. We already have a court reserved. And, he thinks he can beat you." Michael stopped walking, looked at me and said "You gotta be kidding me." I said, "What can I say; he's the President. Guess there is only one way to find out."
At this point, hotel guests were starting to notice Michael and approaching quickly. We walked out the lobby to his car, I thanked him again, shook hands and he was gone.
I still don't think he and President Obama have a chance to play one-on-one yet. There's still time."