Interesting Article - Michael Jordan Tried To Steal My Date

(1/10) > >>

Michael Jordan Tried to Steal My Date

by Greg Seigle

It's just before 10 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 8, 2002, and my cell phone rings--it's Christine, an out-of-town heartthrob, calling from the Four Seasons Hotel. She's just arrived in D.C. for a brief business trip and wants to meet for a late-night bite.

I'm busy writing a story for a news service, but it's hard to resist. She's famished, so we agree she'll go ahead to Cafe Milano and I'll meet her there in a half-hour.

About the same time we're on the phone, Michael Jordan is facing a larger-than-usual swarm of reporters at the MCI Center after playing in a 96-88 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The morning papers have just revealed that his wife of 13 years, Juanita Jordan, has filed for divorce in Waukegan, Ill. A Chicago Sun-Times reporter asks if his divorce is inevitable. "None of your business," Jordan snarls, according to a subsequent account in the Washington Post.

As I'm striding toward the wood-framed glass doors of Milano, sucking on a breath mint, it occurs to me that Christine probably won't be sitting alone. She's a svelte, attractive woman; the vultures of Milano will surely have latched on to her. I walk faster.

Standing at the entrance, scanning tables, I quickly spot Christine--eating at a round table ringed with six big men. That's really all I notice--that these guys are big. She's talking, laughing, oblivious to my arrival.

"Great," I mutter, wanting to spin around and split. Still, I'm anxious to catch up. So I suck in a deep breath and beeline for her, hoping she'll jump up, throw her arms around me, and, after a quick adieu to the big boys, sashay off to another table with me.

"Hey, Christine," I murmur.

Christine's caught off guard. Her wide-eyed expression seems to say, Oh ***! I forgot about you! She doesn't stand.

"This is my friend Greg," she announces timidly, flipping her hand at me. Silence.

"Hey there," I mutter, smiling meekly and nodding toward the men. No response.

One guy--a burly bald man who reminds me of Russian-mafia thugs I encountered during a reporting stint in the former Soviet Union--shoots me a sustained "get the *** out of here" stare. Another man, curly-haired, scurries away to summon the manager.

Christine is flustered. "Grab a seat," she says, even though there are no chairs available.

Suddenly, I realize that one of the men sneering at me, the one seated to the left of Christine, is Michael Jordan.

My boyish instinct is to burst into a big smile, stick out my right hand and exclaim: "Oh my God! Michael Jordan! How the hell are you?"

But the macho man inside me wants to growl: "Dude, are you hitting on my date?"

The restaurant's manager sidles up and whispers: "Sir, if you could, please move away. The gentlemen want to conduct some business."

I look to Christine for a clue. Her eyes dart towards Jordan's, then back at mine. She grins sheepishly.

Just then, two people stand up to leave, causing a timely distraction. "Look," I tell Christine, as soon as I can speak without anyone hearing. "I'm going to leave, OK? It's Michael Jordan, for crying out loud. Go for it. Have a good time."

But just as I'm turning away, Christine surprises me--and everyone else--by grabbing my forearm. "No!" she blurts out. "Don't go! Hold on."

She abruptly stands up and bids the group farewell, hoisting her half-finished bowl of shrimp ravioli and glass of champagne as she leaves.

The waiter scrambles to react, and Christine and I head for a table of our own. The move happens so fast I don't think to ask for a table far, far away. Big mistake.

We settle into the table right next to Jordan's--Christine snares the seat facing him as I sit to the side--and it seems all eyes are upon us. Including his.

I figure MJ and his pals will soon grow tired of ogling Christine, who's wearing a strapless minidress and knee-high black boots. After a half-hour, however, it becomes clear they're not going to stop.

"Jeez, I'm not that good-looking," Christine says.

Despite the distractions, we're mostly engrossed in conversation. At one point, she's voluntarily saying she's attracted to me. "It's the champagne," I laugh nervously. She knows I'm gaga for her.

Still, it's impossible to ignore the table of men next to us, especially that guy with the poster-boy smirk. Christine isn't blameless, either. I notice her occasionally smiling Jordan's way. The second or third time, I call her on it.

"Is there a problem?" I ask.

"I'm sorry. It's just that he keeps staring at me," she says.

I swing my head toward Jordan; he tips his head back and puffs on a cigar, pretending not to notice.

I can't believe this is happening--I'm getting dissed by one of the most popular icons in Washington...the, the entire world! Isn't he supposed to be a role model?

While Christine is off in the ladies' room, I catch Jordan's eye for a millisecond. His upper lip curls, as though I were some rookie trying to challenge him on the court.

When Christine gets back, she's clearly basking in the attention from the other table. I figured she made her choice when she left Jordan's table. My instincts now, though, tell me she may be reconsidering. I suggest we leave, but she says she wants to stay.

Now it's my turn to go to the bathroom. When I re-emerge, the curly-haired man is sitting next to her in one of our unused chairs. I sit down and engage in some polite banter. He's Tim Grover, Jordan's personal trainer. Grover seems unimpressed by the news that my cousin Leslie is married to Wizards backup guard Hubert Davis.

So I stand up, extend my right hand, and announce, "Well, it was nice to meet you, Tim. Have a good night." He glides back to Jordan's table.

I sit there stewing. I've admired Jordan from afar for many years. Now that I've encountered him face to face he's...uh, he's hitting on my date?

Before I can call for the check, the men at Jordan's table rise to leave, hovering over us and fluffing their expensive outerwear.

A tall bald man in a full-length white cashmere coat remains behind, mumbling, "See you soon" to Jordan and the others as they shuffle out. He takes a seat at the bar, orders a drink, and swivels around in his stool so he faces my side.

Minutes later, Christine and I get up to go. As I take a few steps ahead of her to grab the door, the man in the cashmere coat slips behind me. When I turn around, he's whispering in her ear, handing her a note of some sort. Christine quickly grabs it and stuffs it in her pocket. The man scurries away.

"Hey, what was that he handed you?" I ask Christine, acting amused.

"Oh, you mean this?" she says, playfully handing me a card adorned with the Wizards logo. It's the card of Fred Whitfield, identified as a "legal counsel" for the team.

"What did he say to you?" I ask, bravely handing the card back.

"Ummm...he said, ëWhen that guy drops you off, call this phone number and we'll send the limo to pick you up,'" Christine responds.

"Really? Wow. Are you going to call?"

"I don't know yet," she replies.

Christine and I walk outside into the freezing night, where a black, chrome-trimmed limo is idling out front, warm and cozy. We climb into my nearby car, a dented Ford Taurus with frost bits dotting the windshield.

"Brrrr!" Christine chirps, rubbing her upper arms and exhaling thin clouds of steam.

I drive her to her hotel. There, Christine surprisingly lays one on me, a long, slow kiss that, after it ends a minute or three later, stirs me to inquire whether I should see her upstairs.

"No, it's late, and I have to get up early," she says. My car clock reads 1:24 a.m.

She jumps out and I watch her walk down the long corridor of the Four Seasons before driving away, fighting off the urge to park nearby and see if the limo cruises up.

The next afternoon, unable to contain my curiosity, I call Christine and ask point blank: "What happened after I dropped you off?"

"Now, Greg, what kind of a woman do you think I am?" she says, laughing.

There's a brief, awkward pause before she pipes up again.

"What, do you think I'd actually go hook up with him?"

I want to believe Christine, but it's difficult, especially after she tells me that she's suddenly decided to extend her stay in D.C. a few days for reasons other than work--and will be busy until Friday.

Now I'm scrambling to check my Wizards schedule. Yep, the team is in town--until Friday, when it departs for Milwaukee.

Later, Christine informs me she spent part of her "mini-vacation" gallivanting about Washington with the Jordan gang. She swears it was just tea, dinner, and the like.

"He's a very nice man," Christine alleges.

"Do you think he was nice to me?" I snap back.

"I guess not," she concedes.

I haven't gone out with Christine again, although we still keep in minimal touch.

In my jilted eyes, Jordan's a role model all right--a role model for spoiled athletes who think they and their hangers-on can run roughshod over anyone. He has to dominate, even in casual social situations. And he's remarkably thorough about it. At Cafe Milano, when I received the bill, I couldn't help noticing that the ravioli and champagne Christine had picked up at Jordan's table had been transferred to my tab. CP

turn to page 53 if Jordan should dunk the ball.

turn to page 21 if Jordan should pass to Kerr.

Miami's Finest:
Good article.

geez i stopped reading when they moved to another table



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page