Marcus Jordanneeds to know he ain't Michael Jordan. The dude has been cursed to live all his life in his father's gigantic shadow, an unsettling prospect for any aspiring athlete.
Hasn't he been there long enough?
At some point, Marcus Jordan has to stand on his own merits.
That time is now.
But it seems like the sawed-off Jordan, a freshman guard at the University of Central Florida, has put the university in a tough spot because of his refusal to wear adidas, the brand of sporting gear that the basketball program there is contracted to wear.
To put on adidas, Marcus Jordan insisted, would be an affront to his father, whose Nike shoes and clothing have been staples of big-time sports for two decades or more. "Air Jordan" is an iconic brand like Apple, McDonald's or Coca-Cola, names familiar to people in America and around the world.
The Nike label holds a special place in the Jordan household, so for Marcus Jordan to wear adidas would be like one of Henry Ford's great, great grandchildren riding around in an Audi. But that's what the young Jordan has essentially been asked to do, although he understands what his decision might mean for the university.
It risks losing $3 million, which is what adidas pays UCF, a Conference USA team, each year as part of a five-year deal. The university seems to have no choice here, and neither does adidas if it wants to get its money's worth.
What's the solution here?
Simple ... either Marcus Jordan laces up his UCF adidas or sits out the season. Then, he will need to hope that Nike swoops in and ponies up cash for the program to wear its gear next season. Nike will get a chance to do just that next June when the adidas deal with UCF expires.
Before then, you have to ask this question: Didn't Marcus Jordan know that UCF was an adidas school?
And if he didn't, who's fault is that?
I'd blame his father. For Michael Jordan should have known even if his young son didn't.
I'm a former journalism professor at Ohio University, and I still enjoy teaching, although I don't do it anymore in a formal classroom. I have long felt that teaching is the most noble -- or selfless -- thing a person can do, which is why I value it so highly. But I'm also a sportswriter, which I enjoy doing nearly as much as I enjoy teaching. ... Justice B. Hill