But his athletic chops have never looked better, even from Spike Lee's front-row Garden perch. A soaring Jordan, at 10-times scale, knifing through a sea of defenders in super-clear super-slo-mo inspires a rare sort of awe. And that's the point. We are to feel privileged to be in Jordan's presence, even an oversized celluloid one. The mythmaking gets so over-the-top that even MJ's ill-conceived baseball stint is made to look heroic.

But, oh, those action sequences. Even as we cringed over the positioning of the '98 Bulls as playoff underdogs, we swooned with every subtle airborne move made by Jordan, the ball always just out of the reach of multiple opponents. But it makes one think: If they pieced together, blew up, and then slo-mo'd a highlight reel of, say, Charles Smith, it's damn likely that even Knicks fans would stand up and cheer.

Contributors: Joanna Cagan, John Stravinsky, Ramona Debs
Sports Editor: Miles D. Seligman

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