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By Thomas Lake
SI.com

Dear Michael Jordan,

I heard Pop Herring was in jail so I drove up to see him the other night. You remember Pop, your basketball coach at Laney High in Wilmington. The man who opened the gym at 6 a.m. so you could work on that jumper. The man who let you borrow his car and had you over to his house and treated you like a son. The man who put you on jayvee in your sophomore year. Didn’t cut you, as you always said after that, although at the time it probably felt like a cut. I guess it still does, or did in 2009, when you were inducted into the Hall of Fame, and you addressed Pop directly without actually using his name and said, regarding his failure to put you on varsity, “I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.”

Well, it was your mistake. You used what should have been a joyful occasion to call out a man for something he did not actually do. A sick and indigent man at that. As we both know, Pop’s life fell apart after you left town. Not his fault. A disease ran in his family, paranoid schizophrenia or some such thing, and he started acting strange, and he lost his job, and his wife, and his daughter, and pretty much everything else. Took to drinking, as you or I might do in similar circumstances.

Did you help him? Not in the past 18 years. He and his friends say the last time you saw him was 1994, and no one from your camp has come forward to dispute this. That was at a celebration of you in Chicago, and you introduced him to your fans as “the first guy to ever cut me,” and they booed.

Click here to read more at SI.com

(Photo by Bill Frakes/SI)

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25 Comments on "SI.com: A letter to Michael Jordan: Shame on you for refusing to help Pop"

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chicagohoops
2016 years 2 months ago

You’re just mad and envious because you didn’t make it like MJ.

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Buc Daddy
2016 years 2 months ago

It is sad about Pop’s life, but that is the same way he treat’s laney HS, only thing he gives back is 2 scholarships(2500), heck his son’s blow that away in single game of blackjack, just like daddy!!!! Ask coach Lynch what happen to the jersey that was in the trophy case(ebay), all of the area hs athletes that have gone on to the pro’s give back, accept Laney’,because of the way they have been treated by lynch,sutton,and dietz, the whole state of laney athletics is in bad shape,What jordan does give to the basketball team(seconds of air jordan warm… Read more »

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JTH
2016 years 2 months ago

Never ever forget where you came from and who helped you along the way.

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CFYS
2016 years 2 months ago

It’s not just someone he knew fool… You help the people who helped you especially those hurting in spirit or health! This man was instrumental in not only coaching but teaching, parenting, guiding young Jordan. I would like to hear Jordan’s side and commend SI for calling him out! If it’s false then shame on SI. But it sounds like they are in the know on this.

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Guest111
2016 years 2 months ago

I think this article is totally out of line. I’m surprised that it got published and I would be pi**** if someone called me out publicly because I don’t support someone from my high school days.

That being said, the only remark I have for Mr. Jordan is I was very let down that he didn’t make an attempt to see Whitey Prevatte when Whitey’s closed. That was MJ’s first job and I know he knew Whitey thought a lot of him. I expected to see him at some point the last week they were open but… Read more »

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