Las Vegas, Nevada (April 3, 2011)–We here at GolfLasVegasNow.com are as skeptical as the next person about the sincerity that many of the world's celebrities and athletes show. Do they really care about the cause they promote? Do they come to a pro-am tournament solely for the free rooms, food, golf and fun? Do they allow their name to be used so they seem like nice people? Well, following the first round of the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at Las Vegas' Shadow Creek, arguably the world's biggest celebrity–and the event's namesake–made a big impression with a simple gesture, taking away a bit of that skepticism. —By Brian Hurlburt.
There appeared to be a couple thousand people on hand to watch the tournament, with several hundred armed and ready with everything from jerseys to shoes to anything else you can imagine to be signed by the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, Jr., Drew Brees, Anthony Anderson, Brandi Chastain, and, yes, Jordan. After the final putt dropped, the crowd–and talk about being skeptical, how many of those adults seeking an autograph would have it up on EBAY by the time the sun set?–got a tad aggressive when Jordan made the walk from the 18th green to the clubhouse.
He stopped several times to sign, but near the end of his journey towards the seclusion of the quaint Shadow Creek clubhouse, and with the large crowd pushing forward for the last chance at his signature, Jordan picked out a 12-year old boy who was there just for the fun of it and not one of those in the crowd looking to make a fast buck. To his credit, Jordan paused, reached down and signed the cover of the official tournament program for the kid. He then shunned every adult who was near the boy. Who knows how many people over the years have taken Jordan's name in vain for not signing? And after this day, there will surely be a few more who are upset because they walked away empty handed.
But there will also be at least one father (who was well back in the pack watching the proceedings) and son who can share a memory of the time Jordan made a simple gesture that created a lifetime memory. During his career, Jordan was known for his talent plus an extreme sense of the game. On this day, Jordan sensed that a boy was just there for fun and because he enjoys basketball and the NBA … and sports in general. And Jordan most likely sensed that those standing near the boy were there with their handful of stuff hoping Jordan would ablige and thus help add to their bank account.
Thanks, Michael. My son, Jacob, appreciates it. And don't worry about the others in the crowd who might be upset. You sensed it and made the correct choice, picking out a kid at the right moment. The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational concludes on Sunday and is now one of several major tournaments that make their home in Las Vegas including the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, Tiger Jam and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Both the Wendy's event and Tiger Jam take place at Las Vegas golf courses Cascata and Rio Secco Golf Club. The Jordan event is sponsored by ARIA. And maybe we never should have been skeptical in the first place when it comes to Jordan, who has done much for charity during his long career.