by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

NEWS ITEM — For the first time in history, NBA players will compete for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. This week, Sports Illustrated printed a
“projected” Olympic starting five on its cover — Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. While all of them are multi- millionaires, none will be paid for the Olympic experience. They say they can adjust. . . .

Barcelona 1992

GUIDE: “Buenos dias, gentlemen, and welcome to the Olympic Village. My name is Emilio. I am your guide. And these are your rooms.”

EWING: “Whoa. You mean our closets.”

GUIDE: “I beg your pardon?”

EWING: “These are the closets, right?”

GUIDE: “Uh . . . no sir. These are the rooms. Each Olympic athlete gets the same accommodations. See the desk and the lamp and the the two beds?”

MAGIC: “I only need one bed.”

GUIDE: “Two athletes per room.”


JORDAN: “Relax, Charles. Look, man. We’re tired from the trip, OK? We had to fly commercial. Let’s just turn on ESPN and chill out.”

MAGIC: “I wanna watch Sportscenter.”

MALONE: “Hey, where’s the TV?”

GUIDE: “No TV in village rooms, sir. But we have a splendid TV in the lounge at the end of the hall.”


JORDAN: “Relax, Charles. Look, we–“


MALONE: “What’s that noise?”

GUIDE: “Those are your neighbors, the Yugoslavian wrestlers. I suppose they are — THUMP! — practicing.”

EWING: “How am I gonna sleep with that?”

GUIDE: “Do not worry, sir, there–“

Bump-dump . . . bump-dump-bump . . .

MAGIC: “What’s that?”

GUIDE: “Those are your other neighbors, the Romanian gymnasts. Tumblers, I think. Do not worry. They will stop by 10 p.m. That’s when we have the silence curfew in the village.”


JORDAN: “Relax, Charles. Look, there’s obviously been some mix-up. Let’s just call down to the front desk and get the rooms switched, OK?”

EWING: “Yeah, and then I’m calling my agent. No way this stuff is in my contract.”

MALONE: “Mine, either.”

MAGIC: “Let’s send out for pizza.”

JORDAN: “Emilio . . . where’s the phone?”

GUIDE: “At the end of the hall, sir.”


JORDAN: “Uh, listen, Emilio. I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but . .
. I’ll give you a dozen pairs of my shoes if you get us a nicer place, OK?”

MAGIC: “And front-row seats to the Janet Jackson concert I’m promoting.”

EWING: “I’ll give you a car! Two cars!”

MALONE: “My condo in Utah!”

GUIDE: “Please, sirs. I cannot accept anything. Like I said, all Olympians are treated equally, in the spirit of amateur competition. Why don’t you relax, have some food?”

JORDAN: “OK. Where’s the mini-bar?”

GUIDE: “I beg your pardon?”

MALONE: “No mini-bar?”

EWING: “How about the room-service menu?”

GUIDE: “All athletes eat in the cafeteria.”


MAGIC: “You mean like trays, and silverware, and big scoops of mashed potatoes?”

GUIDE: “Precisely.”

EWING: “That’s it. I quit. Where’s Chuck Daly?”

MALONE: “He’s downstairs, filming his TV show.”

MAGIC: “But the Opening Ceremony is in three hours.”

JORDAN: “Hey, Emilio, how much appearance money do we get for that?”

GUIDE: “The Opening Ceremony? No money, sir. You march the around stadium with your flag.”

MALONE: “You mean, like . . . for free?”


JORDAN: “And how do we get there?”

GUIDE: “By bus, with the other athletes.”

MAGIC: “I think I got a hamstring pull.”

EWING: “Bone spur in my foot.”

MALONE: “Head cold.”

JORDAN: “Look, Emilio. We got no TV, no phone, no room service, we gotta ride buses, march for free, hang out with people from Afghanistan, and Greece and Brazil. I mean, what do you call that?”

GUIDE: “The Olympic experience, sir.”


EWING: “How long till we go home?”


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

🛍 For just $2.99/mo or $29.99/year, you get access to every weekly issue

🎁 All proceeds will be donated to help the daily operations of the orphanage, Have Faith Haiti Mission

🗞 Paid subscribers also get to hear directly from the kids through the “Have Faith Haiti Chronicles.” It’s a monthly/quarterly-ish newsletter written and published by students in a media and journalism class.


Subscribe for bonus content and giveaways!