As we go through our athlete run-in stories, we notice a somewhat disturbing trend: The number of fans who bother athletes, taunt them into doing something stupid, and then tell the stories like they're cool. We like to make fun of athletes too — Lord knows it's not difficult — but, on the whole anyway, they are human beings and shouldn't have to deal with random dopes running up to them on the street and yelling "You suck!" Particularly when the only person with anything to lose in the interaction is the athlete; if he punches a guy, assholes like us will rip on him for it for all the world to see the next morning. It's a tough racket.
That said, today's two stories involve fan-initiated run-ins that turned out for the best. The first involves an elevator, Michael Jordan and J. King from Chicago.
Getting on an elevator, circa 1992. Look up to see Michael Jordan waiting on the elevator with a friend. We make eye contact, I give him a quick head nod. As the elevator is descending, I'm thinking how I can't blow this and need to throw something out there. I jump in with both feet: "Say, don't I know you from somewhere?" Jordan looks at me, surprisingly not as annoyed as I'd be if I were him. I continue: "Yeah, I definitely know you. Aren't you on that basketball team with Cliff Levingston?" Jordan smiled the smile that launched 1,000 commercials, and I walked away thinking, "Yeah, I still blew that."
Okay, so he didn't do anything crazy, but that ain't a bad run-in — getting a smile from the man? And I didn't even have to go double-or-nothing with him.
Athlete Run-Ins: Cleaning Up Bonds' Mess [Deadspin]