Tom Sorensen

Sorensen Classic: The rewards of Michael Jordan cologne, vintage ‘96

With Michael Jordan cologne: “One whiff, and people begin to give me things. They give me shoes, adulation, calls. I can take two steps, three steps, four steps. Traveling? Not any more.”
With Michael Jordan cologne: “One whiff, and people begin to give me things. They give me shoes, adulation, calls. I can take two steps, three steps, four steps. Traveling? Not any more.”

Editor’s note: This column originally published on Dec. 20, 1996.

I don't know how much Michael Jordan's new cologne costs, but it must be expensive because when I go to Eckerd's to buy a bottle the woman behind the counter laughs and sends me to SouthPark. At SouthPark, Old Spice is expensive.

I go anyway. I can tell I am getting close to the cologne that bears Jordan's name when the people who offer a free hit of fragrance stop being small women with carefully arranged hair and start being tall slender men with shaved heads.

Why am I writing about cologne the morning after the Chicago Bulls come to town? You would know if you attended the Chicago-Charlotte Hornets game.

With 4:55 left in the second quarter, the score was Chicago 46, Charlotte 24, Jordan 22. And Jordan is sick. The Bulls beat the Hard Ball Hornets 93-72.

There are a few interesting sideshows, a few low-level altercations. In chronological order, they are: Anthony Mason-Dennis Rodman; Vlade Divac-Rodman; Mason-Jordan; Matt Geiger-Scottie Pippen; and Scott Burrell-Rodman.

Ric Flair awaits the winner. Yet fans at Charlotte Coliseum are so imbued with the spirit of the holidays that they all but ignore the scuffles. Every Bull who is introduced before the game is applauded, Bill Wennington included.

That would be Bill Wennington. The Bulls aren't visitors. They are guests.

The Hornets also are generous. They give the Bulls too many easy shots - the Bulls miss the hard ones - and offensive rebounds.

Aside from Jordan's moves and Rodman's flops, the game is less than fascinating. It's true, of course, that cologne also tends not to be less than fascinating. You slap some on and, although it doesn't necessarily make you smell good, it makes you smell better.

But when you take a hit of Jordan's cologne, you immediately change. Your confidence leaps. You feel as if you have power.

The cologne is not like the other stuff Jordan endorses, most of which can't be listed here because of space limitations. But I'll tell you what. Put on Jordan underwear and Jordan shoes and Jordan shorts and a Jordan shirt and a Jordan cap and you know what you look like? You look like a short fat imitation of Jordan.

But the cologne, which in the advertisements purports to take you inside Jordan, not only makes you smell like the guy - it makes you feel like the guy. When was the last time you slapped on cologne that made you fly?

I've never been able to jump. I'd lose a jump ball to Chicago guard Steve Kerr. But one hit of the Jordan cologne and, from a dead start, I'm touching the rim. First time without a ladder. There has to be a reason, and I'm saying it's the cologne.

That's not all the cologne does. One whiff, and people begin to give me things. They give me shoes, adulation, calls.

I can take two steps, three steps, four steps. Traveling? Not any more.

I can hack opponents. And even if the hack is so blatant a referee feels he has to blow his whistle, he apologizes first. And as he does, he quietly calls me sir.

Ever heard of super agent David Falk? He calls me.

Forget the Personal Seat License, plenty of which are available although they are still going fast. I want to spend my money on a case of Michael Jordan cologne.

But wait. Not so fast. There is a dark side to smelling like Michael Jordan.

People with cameras and notebooks begin to tail me. Fans interrupt meals. Worst of all, my hairline recedes. Bald works for Jordan. Homer Simpson's hair would probably work for Jordan. Alas, it does not work for me. I look like Bozo the Clown.

These things are bad. But there's something worse. Much worse.

I want to have lunch with David Falk.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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