- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

Perspective is a funny thing, depending on your perspective.

Soon after the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, a number of scribblers and talking heads in the sports media found it fashionable to note that our games were now in their proper perspective. The games, it seems, were hardly the be-all they had been made out to be in the past.

This revelation was an indictment of sorts, and a fairly amusing one, too, if you consider games to be games, the same after Sept. 11 as before, wonderful forms of entertainment that require no exhausting explanations or apologies.

So now I am confused.

As we distance ourselves from Sept. 11, it is startling to see and hear the hypemeisters out of breath again, all worked up again, discovering anew the never-ending gifts of Michael Jordan.

The man is back, of course, and he is a very bad man on a basketball floor, which is fine.

He apparently is a healer, too, a very special healer who has the ability to wash away your emotional wounds and fears after you have entered his cathedral this season.

This is some heavy stuff, mystical.

Jordan has the power to aid the nation's healing process.

He can dunk a basketball and help you feel whole again; help a city feel vital again, even safe. Obviously, Jeff George could not do this.

Question: Where do people come up with this nonsense, and what happened to the newfound perspective?

Here's the post-Sept. 11 context: Various national agencies are scrambling to eliminate the threat of another terrorist attack, the next one potentially more devastating if weapons of mass destruction are used.

Our country is on alert, and our troops are about to die.

Jordan plays basketball, and I tap on a keyboard. I see. Terrorists, dunk shots and me. I now feel better about the life-and-death issues before America. Thank you. I must have skipped that class in college.

Please. We have all lost a loved one at one time or another. We have all experienced genuine adversity in one form or another. Did

a jump shot really help you get through it better?

We in the sports media, this space included, usually suffer from a bad case of myopia, because the games are more fun than the outside world. We hype. We traffic in superlatives. We go, "Have you heard the latest?" We wrest vast meaning from scoring averages, batting averages and yards-per-carry averages.

It is part of the job description, the breathlessness often accompanied with a wink. We are the respite from the tedium, and still are, only now it comes amid the threat of attacks involving biological or chemical weapons.

It is crazy out there, and just to be clear on this, Osama bin Laden is the tall, skinny kook who, in words familiar to basketball players, identified New York and Washington as two of his go-to cities.

Washington is buzzing with all manner of nightmarish scenarios, and athletes, Jordan included, are as helpless as the rest of us.

Athletes do what they do, and they are worthy of celebration within their confines. But heal you? Heal me? I am not feeling that. Maybe this is a thing from the old "Kung Fu" series, a Grasshopper thing.

I don't know about you, but I'm taking my cues from President Bush and other government officials. I will feel a whole lot better when bin Laden and his evil kind are dead, dead, dead and the threat against America is eased considerably.

I am all about the healing process, and it can begin with America being able to employ bin Laden's remains as fertilizer.

Otherwise, I am as pleased as the next person that Jordan will be on the floor with the Wizards this season. It is nice to have Washington back in the NBA fold.

I am curious, too, wondering how it all will play out. I happen to think Jordan is going to be pretty darn good, as long as his 38-year-old body holds up. I say this as a supporter of the NBA and not as a concerned American. The NBA is what it is, an appealing diversion. It does not pretend to have the capacity to heal, protect and take us to a better place.

As many red, white and blue athletes have said since Sept. 11, we're all in this together.

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