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Michael Jordan Once Brought A Kid Who Was Hideously Burned To The Chicago Bulls Bench, Talked With Him During The Game, And Left Time-Outs To Talk With Him: "I Can Remember John Paxson And I Having Tears In Our Eyes, Looking At That Scene."

Michael Jordan Once Brought A Kid Who Was Hideously Burned To The Chicago Bulls Bench, Talked With Him During The Game, And Left Time-Outs To Talk With Kid: "I Can Remember John Paxson And I Having Tears In Our Eyes, Looking At That Scene."

Athletes in the modern age are as close as anyone in society gets to the status of superhero. Children look up to their favorite players more than anyone else, and while stars don't have to be role models, they do generally take the time out to make young kids happy. And no NBA superstar's time has been as sought after by fans as Michael Jordan's. 

Jordan gets a bit of a bad rap for not being as involved with social issues as other stars throughout history. He does have a soft side to him, as he showed with his emotional message following Bill Russell's passing. Early in his career, especially, MJ took time out at various points to meet as many of his young fans as he could. A lot of these children were often suffering from illnesses or had been through other misfortunes, making their meeting with His Airness one of the highlights of their lives. 

A particularly heart-wrenching story of this nature was shared in Roland Lazenby's book, 'Michael Jordan: The Life." In 1990, when MJ was still chasing his first title with the Bulls, he took the time to bring a young fan named Dave Rothenberg to one of Chicago's games. The 13-year-old had been set on fire by his father, a tragic event. And after a long recovery period, finally got the chance to meet Jordan. 

“Jordan fought to keep his self-indulgence private as well as the burdens he chose to bear beyond the game. “I thought in the early days, he was doing so much, it was unbelievable,” Bach recalled. “He always visited with some person or child who had a last wish. He never turned anyone down. Every night he faced that, and I could never understand how he was strong enough to do it. 

"Kids that were burned, brutalized, and dying by disease or something else. I can still remember he saw a kid who was brought in whose father had burned his face off him. They brought him in, and Michael talked to him in that old dressing room we had in Chicago Stadium before the game. He just talked to him. You couldn’t imagine, a kid that was hideously burned. And Michael just talked to him. 

Lazenby went into more detail about Jordan's behavior after he brought the kid to the game. Mike was famously competitive and intense, but he was taking the time to pay attention to the young Dave and make him feel good.

"He put him on the bench, and during the game he would come over and ask, ‘How’d you like that jump shot?’ One of the officials came over and said, ‘Michael, you can’t have that kid on the bench. It’s against league rules.’ And Michael looked at him and said, ‘He’s on the bench.’ He left our team time-outs to talk to the kid.

"I can remember John Paxson and I having tears in our eyes, looking at that scene, because the kid was so hideously burned. And here’s Michael talking to him. So he had that greatness in him. It brought out scenes like that. That was repeated many times. He was a wonder man.”

The fact that none of these stories received too much publicity also goes to show how dedicated MJ was to doing this work in silence. Stories like the one young Dave Rothenberg had are an example of how terrible humans can be. But the people that worked tirelessly to make his wish come true and Jordan himself show that despite this, there is good to be found in this world.