Michael Jordan displayed his support today for Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in dramatic fashion.
“The Olympic spirit—it’s alive in Chicago,” Jordan declares in a surprise appearance at the end of a new film that features Olympians and Paralympics with Chicago ties.
The film was shown publicly for the first time at a news conference at Douglas Park on the city’s West Side—a key Games venue in Chicago’s plan—where Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Patrick G. Ryan gathered a crowd of civic and business leaders, as well as Olympians, Paralympians and volunteers, in anticipation of the arrival of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission to Chicago.
The film, entitled “Moments,” is among those that will be shown to the IOC’s Evaluation Commission. The bid committee also released the results of a new poll that shows widespread public support for hosting the Games in Chicago.
“Michael Jordan is a Chicago icon, but he also is a global icon,” said Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, the not-for-profit organization that is seeking to bring the Games to Chicago. “He is a beloved and respected figure around the world, and his name and likeness are known on every continent.
“Michael’s endorsement of our bid is something that we prize,” Ryan said. “We thank him and all the other great athletes—including those who appeared with him in the new film—who have stepped forward to support Chicago.”
Jordan competed in the 1984 Games as a young athlete out of the University of North Carolina and, after joining the Bulls, as a member of the “Dream Team” that played in 1992 in Barcelona and won the gold.
“I’ve had some tremendous memories in my professional basketball career,” Jordan said. “But the memory of standing as a representative at the Olympics representing the United States is one of the proudest moments of my life. To step up on that podium representing your country—there’s no greater honor than that.”
Jordan said it was a thrill as a young athlete to compete outside the U.S. for the first time in the 1984 Games, and he enjoyed being teammates in 1992 with basketball greats he played against in the National Basketball Association. They included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Clyde Drexler.
“We always fought against one another in the course of a season, and here we’re spending time with each other and representing our country and trying to win,” he said.
The basketball competition in Chicago 2016’s plan would be held at the United Center, where a sculpture of Jordan stands today as testament to his feats on the court.
The film was directed by Malik Sayeed, an accomplished African-American industry professional with RSA Films. His previous credits include work on Spike Lee’s “The Original Kings of Comedy,” as well as “Eyes Wide Shut.” He also was director of photography on “Just Married” and “Frailty.”
Element 79, a Chicago advertising agency, created the concept for the film and oversaw its production. Cutters and Another County, also Chicago-based firms, did post-production work.
The video can be downloaded at www.badertv.com/chicago2016.