Tuesday marks Michael Jordan's 52nd birthday, which gives us a chance to recognize both his basketball career (apparently he was pretty good), and his statesman-like standing within the game of golf.
When he's not burning people on Twitter, or trying to entice the President into another money match, Jordan's actually an astute observer of all things golf, especially when it comes to Tiger Woods, with whom he was quite close early in Woods' career. Like this, for example, which Jordan told Golf Digest's Bob Verdi in 1998 that looks very prescient in hindsight:
We talk a couple of times a week on the phone. But not a whole lot about golf. I guess he looks at me as kind of a big brother, which is fine. He's got a lot to deal with. He's 22 years old, but people want to project him to be older. Just because he hits the ball nine miles and wins the Masters by 12 strokes, he's supposed to have all the answers. He's supposed to be perfect. That's not fair, but he'll be fine. He'll deal with it. . . . Don't forget, though: A lot hit him in a short time. His first instinct at being in the spotlight was to become a recluse. Well, that's wrong. Believe me, I know. You can't just go to the golf course and when you're done, go back and lock yourself in your hotel room. I've been there; it's miserable. You can't just stare at the TV. You lose your sense of society. You're not living life. My God, he should be having fun doing what he's doing. . . . The more he learns to relax with his job, the more he'll enjoy it, and the better he'll become.