Monday, January 28, 2008

Nipsey Russell-Gong Moment #3: Michael Jordan

What is a “Nipsey Russell-Gong Moment?” Three decades ago, the great entertainer Nipsey Russell was a guest judge on The Gong Show. On one episode, a White male ventriloquist appeared as a contestant. His dummy was white, but he (inexplicably) sloppily painted it brown, hence, it looked a bit like blackface. As the man told bad, though not racist jokes, Russell gonged him. Russell explained that he gonged the man because something just wasn’t right. Sometimes things just feel wrong. If you get that feeling, don’t doubt yourself. Just gong ‘em!

In 1990, at the peak of his popularity, Michael Jordan refused to endorse Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt in a senate race against Republican Jesse Helms. At the time, Helms was neck-and-neck with Democrat Gantt in Jordan’s home state of North Carolina. Helms then launched the infamous “Hands” campaign commercial. The ad featured a close-up of a White man’s hands crumpling a rejection letter. The voiceover said, “you needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority.” Gantt could have used Jordan’s support, but Jordan refused to give it by explaining, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Helms won the election, and Jordan sold out, literally, to Nike.

This month, Nike is launching the latest (and possibly last) Air Jordan. The limited edition will go for $230, while the standard shoe will go for $185. Who really needs a $200 basketball shoe? Nike claims the Air Jordan XX3 is high performance footwear, but no one, unless s/he is a professional athlete, really needs such an over-priced shoe.

GONG to Michael Jordan. Buy Starbury One shoes for $14.98 instead.

No comments: