It was an assembly of the greatest basketball players of the current generation. Seated in the hall were the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin, but it was the talk of the feats of 'His Airness' that ruled the media interaction of the 2013 NBA All-Star
To put it simply: Michael Jordan has become an adjective for defining brilliance and greatness in sport.
The basketball legend celebrates his 50th birthday on Sunday and expectedly, it has attracted huge attention in his fraternity. Basketball wouldn't be where it is today without the kind of impact he made on the fans during his time at Chicago Bulls and the USA's 1992 Olympic dream team.
The discussions at the basketball gala at Houston has been dominated by how impossibly great the Chicago Bulls legend was and the first question that the Chicago Bulls player in the All-Star line-up this time, Joakim Noah, faced was on MJ. "In other sports when you ask who the best player is, you have two or three names, in football opinions will be divided over Pele, Maradona or Messi. In basketball, there is only one - Michael Jordan is the greatest to ever play. As a kid, I was a New York Knicks supporter so it used to be a sad experience for me because he would beat our team, but there is only one Jordan," said the former tennis star, Yannick Noah's son.
The two Charlotte Bobcats players here, participating in the Rising stars game, were among the most sought after and had to face a volley of queries on their owner. The questions ranged from how he was at practice and his impact. The 20-year-old Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said that Jordan beat him one-on-one in a recent training session. "I lost and it was hard for me. He's the greatest man that ever played the game," said Kidd-Gilchrist.
Kidd-Gilchrist's teammate, Kemba Walker said: "I haven't got the chance to play one-on-one against him like Michael, but he is really, really cool when he comes down and plays with the guys. He's not as athletic but, he's never going to lose his game. We are aware how lucky we are to have the greatest player of all time around us quite a lot."
As for his legacy, Tyrone Curtis 'Muggsy' Bogues, the former NBA player who played against Jordan in college competition, says: 'Everyone wants to be Mike, that's the legacy he has"
(The writer's trip is sponsored by Sony Six)