I can’t be sure how these NBA Finals between Chicago and LA — a.k.a. Michael vs. Magic — are going to go.
But I have a pretty good idea . . .
* Game 1, Chicago: In a pre-game interview on NBC, Jordan insists that
“nothing has changed just because I’m in the Finals.” He says this from his private dressing room, while getting a Swedish massage.
Ooops. Time for a commercial. Here’s Jordan, for Nike. And here’s Jordan, for Wheaties. And here’s Jordan, for Nike.
Now, back to the game.
The Lakers are greeted by a resounding “BOOOOOO!” from the Chicago Stadium crowd. Spike Lee arrives and takes a seat at the end of the Bulls bench. During warmups, we get the first big surprise of the series, as Scottie Pippen falls and twists an ankle. “It’s the Pistons’ fault!” he says, as they carry him off. “YEAH! PISTONS S—!” yells the crowd.
The Bulls call a huddle. “We can win without Scottie!” Jordan screams.
“We’re a team! Everyone’s the same!”
He then scores the first 93 points.
Bulls win, 94-92.
Eight babies are born in Chicago. They are all named Michael.
* Game 2, Chicago: In yet another pre-game feature on NBC, Jordan insists “my life is really no different than anyone else’s.” He says that while watching his servants wash his Rolls Royce, Porsche, Jaguar and Maserati. “Hey, you missed a spot,” Jordan says.
The game begins, and the Lakers take a quick lead. John Paxson drives and is fouled hard. The referee blows his whistle. “FLAGRANT FOUL ON BILL LAIMBEER!” He is told that Laimbeer is not playing in this series. “Oh,” he says.
Time for a commercial. Here’s Magic for Pepsi. Here’s Magic for Rolex. Here’s Magic for TWA. Now, back to the game.
The score is tied, 103-103, with seven seconds left. The Lakers put all five men on Jordan. He leaps in the air, lands on top of Vlade Divac’s shoulders, catches the inbounds pass, turns, shoots, and scores. “How does he do it?” Marv Albert squeals.
Bulls win, 105-103.
Nine babies are born in Chicago. They are all named Michael. Even the girls.
* Game 3, Los Angeles: NBC, under criticism for blowing this series out of proportion, airs what it terms a “low-key” feature on Johnson. They call it
“Magic: Portrait of A God.”
Meanwhile, at the Forum, celebrities arrive, including Dyan Cannon and Don Rickles — neither of whom has worked in years. Spike Lee sits at the end of the Lakers bench. Before the tap, a news flash: Hertz, Delta, Nabisco and Ford have signed with Jordan. Avis, Pan-Am, Nestles and GM signed with Johnson. The game begins, and Magic assists on the first 40 baskets. “How does he do it?” Albert squeals.
In the third quarter, Horace Grant is called for traveling and he protests. The referee blows his whistle. “TECHNICAL FOUL ON DETROIT!” He is reminded that Detroit is not playing in this series. “Oh,” he says.
LA wins the game in the fourth quarter with Magic scoring the last 12 points, including a three-point bomb over the outstretched hands of Jordan.
Final score: Lakers 111, Bulls 102.
Hertz announces it is dropping Jordan and switching to Magic.
* Games 4, 5 and 6: Preempted, so that NBC can show the mini- series “Magic and Michael, Clash of Titans.”
* Game 7, Chicago: The series is tied. It has all come down to one game. NBC begins its broadcast the night before, with a Bob Hope special. It follows up with broadcasts on the hour, including the news that China, France and Australia have signed with Magic; the Soviet Union, Germany and New Zealand have signed with Michael.
The pre-game is unlike any other in basketball history. Instead of entering with their teammates, Michael and Magic come from separate corners, dressed in boxing robes and surrounded by body guards. Magic jogs in to the sounds of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson; Jordan enters to “The Greatest.” The referee gives them the rules. “I want a clean game, no dirty stuff, you understand that, Rodman?” He is told Rodman is not playing in this game.
“Oh,” he says.
The game begins. Michael and Magic jump center. They play forward and guard. In fact, by the second quarter, they are the only ones out there. It’s one-on-one. Magic hits a jumper. Michael dunks. Magic banks a shot. Michael dunks. As the game goes on they grow bigger and bigger, moving outdoors, into the street, bigger, bigger, they throw the ball away and swipe at each other, snarling, grunting, soon they are at the Sears Tower, which they climb like King Kong. “HOW DO THEY DO IT?” Marv Albert squeals. . . .
Who wins? I would like to tell you. But NBC won’t let me. It’s bad for the ratings.
And after all, that’s what this whole thing is about, isn’t it?