One of our first posts to this blog back in April was about the United Center Bulls Floor we had in house. I recalled how Michael Jordan’s greatness in his sport made him stand out not just within the context of athletic achievement, but striving for greatness in any realm.
Of course, being a Knicks fan I had wished otherwise during those years, but in retrospect it’s hard to not stand in awe of what he accomplished.
So, in what is possibly the most foregone conclusion when it comes to sports in my lifetime, Michael Jordan enters the Hall of Fame today. If you look around at the enormous amount of sports articles on this topic (plenty were written today), you’ll see writers more or less struggling to express, “He was the best of all time and this is a remarkably fitting occasion.”
What else can you say, really? With other sports you can generally make reasonable arguments about who was the greatest of all time, and they usually still break down by position if there’s a favorite (say, Jerry Rice at wide receiver, or Mariano Rivera as closer). But MJ’s career is defined as “Best of all time at what he did”, period.
Now, of course here at Upper Deck we have a long, storied partnership with Michael Jordan. To celebrate this occasion, we’ve got a whole bunch of high quality autographed memorabilia up on the online store. From my personal perspective, the coolest item has to be the Shepard Fairey piece. It’s hot off the presses, and may not be live at this very moment, but here’s a peek:
Fairey is one of my personal favorite artists; back in 1997 I bought my first concert poster of his, and I’ve got an Obey shirt or two in my closet. He’s risen to mainstream prominence thanks to his iconic Obama piece from last year, and we’re happy to be working with him here at Upper Deck. He produced a great Kobe Bryant piece for us earlier in the year, and blasted out this new Jordan piece on his Twitter account yesterday.
Much of Fairey’s art is produced in limited quantities, and pairing with Upper Deck, this particular one is a true collectible. It measures 24” wide by 36” high, is signed by Michael Jordan and Shepard Fairey, and only fifty exist.
One of the best things about working here is that we have our pulse on the present, while maintaining strong relationships with icons from the past. In the case of basketball, we’re thrilled to work with Kobe and LeBron, while also working with Jordan and his legacy. No doubt, when the careers of Kobe and LeBron are over, they’ll join Jordan in the Hall . . . and Upper Deck will be working with the next crop of bright stars.