Roughly an hour later Jordan emerges from an elevator. Sneaker Man pauses, waits three seconds, then—zoom'.—follows his prey. Sneaker Man says nothing. His eyes are agog. His face is red. His mouth doesn't move. The moment is at hand.
"Hey, Michael," he yells, standing inches from Jordan at the hotel's taxi stand. "I talked to you in Portland a few years ago."
Sneaker Man holds out a manila envelope, containing two Jordan glossies. His Airness walks toward a waiting taxi and then looks Sneaker Man in the eyes. There is hope. There is contact. "Whaddya want me to do with that?" he asks. Jordan has opened the car door. He is about to get in. Sneaker Man is a quick thinker. He has been in this type of situation before—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Derek Smith, Kevin McHale. Surely, he'll come up with the right response.
"Do you remember Pam Eisenberg?"
"What about her?" Jordan responds. "She's married." With that, Jordan shuts the door and roars off. Sneaker Man stands still for a moment and then is told by a security guard he must leave the hotel immediately.
"Who the hell is Pam Eisenberg?" I ask.
"About 10 years ago I asked Jordan about his sneakers," utters Sneaker Man, obviously hurt. "And he told me to call Pam Eisenberg." Back then she was in charge of Jordan's foundation.
Ten years ago?
We walk out of the hotel, Sneaker Man and I, two dogs booted from the house. "I'm not giving up," he tells me. "I can still go at it again in Portland."