Michael Jordan and The Couch

The second couch we ever bought was for our family room. It was a blue and white striped pull out couch, that had giant pillows we would always toss onto the carpet. It was either from Leon’s or Ikea.

We used the pillows as pieces to jump on, avoiding the carpet lava.

We used them as pieces to build forts, in the nook between the wall and the couch’s far arm.

The couch had a lot of miscellaneous stains. With four kids under the age of 13, my mom let it slide. In the heat of summer, with the air conditioning blasting, the fabric was cool to touch. In the winter, Mother&Co. would fold a blanket over the seats, hoping to conceal the stains.

The nook between the wall and the couch’s arm became my personal spot. It was littered with a medley of cushions of hodgepodge origins. Whenever my mom or cousins overflowed the couch, I retreated to my corner.

The corner was mostly used for those times when I realllllllly wanted to stay up to watch the end of a movie or a basketball game, but was too tired and needed to doze off. I was often woken up in a daze and re-capped at breakfast the endings.

My mom’s a big NBA fan and we would watch most games together as a family. Michael Jordan was one of her favourite players and my brother was almost named Michael. (Her least favourite player was John Stockton, who often played against The Bulls. She also praised Grant Hill for not having tattoos.)

At the time, my cousin SH’s favourite team was the Chicago Bulls, right at the height of MJ and Scottie Pippen’s fame. (Dennis Rodman was a weirdo from day one.) This must’ve been pre-Raptors or just when the two Canadian teams, the Grizzlies and Raptors, were born.

Game 6 of the Jazz VS Bulls 1998 NBA final. I’m in the nook. I’m sleeping during commercials and waking up whenever my cousin shouts that the game’s back on. It’s Jordan’s last career game and they’re wearing away jerseys – the signature red base, black and white Bulls uniform. Stockton, in his tiny shorts, makes shots with Malone by his side. The Jazz lead. Scottie Pippen walks into the locker room with a back injury. The game stops and starts, stop and starts. Time outs are called by Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson. The crowd, on their feet, cameras zooming into ladies covering their mouths in nervousness.

In the end, #23 steals the ball and lands a shot that’s all net. Michael Jordan wins his 6th NBA championship ring and in my nook, I’m celebrating like the good guys’ have won and the bad guys deserve to go home. (Yeah, Jonh Stockton was bad in my books.)

Unfortunately, we got rid of the couch a few years later. We all collectively came home from college really upset about our blue and white couch. Basketball players retired, rookies were picked. (Hello Vince Carter, before Toronto hated you.)

It’s funny how memories are triggered by certain things.

Watching the NBA finals is still something our family loves doing together. Of course, after having lived in Miami for a few years, the cousin is an avid Heat’s fan, who’s been to a Miami championship game. For me, I’ve gotta support the Knicks. I was there during Linsanity and I unknowingly babysat Chandler’s kids during Sunday school. The brother on the other hand, a hardcore Dirk Nowitzki fan, though not so sure about loving Dallas anymore.

And Mother&Co.? She doesn’t have a team anymore — just always reminiscing about MJ and the glory days of Jalen Rose.

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