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It's true that the Bulls paid for the flight and a nice hotel, and that Pop attended a private party for Jordan that featured shrimp cocktails and Boyz II Men, and that Jordan gave Pop a commemorative clock, and that Pop seemed to enjoy his reunion with the player he'd once known so well. It's true that Jordan thanked Pop from the stage on the United Center court as he stood beneath the spotlights in his Carolina-blue suit.
It's also true that on the night his number was raised to the rafters, the night his 11-foot bronze statue was unveiled outside the arena, the night he was showered with praise and glory, Michael Jordan aired an old grievance with his broken coach.
"There wasn't one coach that I didn't listen and try to learn from," Jordan said. "They all knew more about the game than I knew, and probably still know about the game, more about the game now, than even I know at this point. But I respect them for taking the time to teach me the game of basketball. Goes all the way back to Clifton Herring, who was the first guy to ever cut me."
That was Pop's big introduction, to nearly 20,000 fans at the United Center and two million more watching on TNT. The first guy to ever cut me. The new arena had been designed to amplify the roar of the crowd. Now there was a rumble, a swelling chorus of voices. The fans were booing Pop Herring for an imaginary crime.
"But I think what people never knew, and I never had the opportunity to express, and my mother knew, and my brothers and sister knew, the next year, he picked me up every day at six o'clock and took me to the gym to help me work on my abilities. Thank you, Coach Herring."
The fans reconsidered. They began to cheer. Jordan could have stopped there, but he kept going. He raised his voice and his right hand, seeming to point toward the coach. "He knew he made a mistake! He just tried to correct it."
Seventeen years have passed since that night. Pop and his friends say it was the last time he saw or heard from Michael Jordan.
So," I say, on our second ride around Wilmington, "do you think that Mike appreciates all you did for him as a coach?"
The consensus around Pop's neighborhood is no, or at least not enough, or he certainly doesn't do enough to show it. Since 2005, Jordan has featured a tiny whistle logo with Herring's initials on two models of his Air Jordan sneakers, but this is not widely known around Brooklyn.