Much to my generation’s chagrin, Michael Jordan has not aged well. He came back one time too many, and when he finally left the league was a rather ordinary professional baller. Since his retirement, he’s had mixed success, at best, as an NBA executive. He offered a mean, bitter Hall of Fame induction speech. And he seems to be constantly cruising the party circuit with younger women. Kind of a dirty old man, not what we expected of the allegedly regal Jordan of his prime.

The linked article is an interesting excerpt from a new NBA book, the <a href=””>Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History</a>, from the makers of the <a href=””>Free Darko</a> website. It recalls NBA Jordan Version 1.0, the unstoppable, revolutionary force that took the league by storm. That Jordan was something to see, not yet the polished, complete package he would become, but a long, lean bundle of energy, raw ability, and competitiveness. He mesmerized me, and a lot of fans my age, and we were sucked into one of the greatest myth-making machines ever.

<a href=””>The Invention of Air</a>

Michael Jordan wasn’t the first player to jump to the rim or abuse defenders. But there was something different about MJ. Not only could he get higher and do more while hanging in the air than anyone who had come before, Jordan was outright vicious in the way he used this exquisite ability, careening around the court and knifing his way to the basket with recklessness—as expansive as Magic, but replacing Johnson’s glee with a kind of freewheeling, vigilante menace.