The internet was around in 1995, but just barely.Rom-Coms” were much more popular and prevalent than “dot-coms,” and the way most people who did navigate the limited internet back then did it by installing America Online to their desktop computer with a floppy disc. 

The way to send a message to the media in hopes of garnering press coverage back then was to fax a press release to them.

It wasn’t sexy, all that immediate, or sometimes even that effective, because you’d still be at the mercy of an assignment editor seeing the fax, reading it, and then responding to it.

In 1995 David Falk was a very powerful attorney who owned a company called FAME, which stood for Falk Associates Management Enterprises, Inc.  Located in Washington, D.C, the epicenter of power, FAME, and specifically Falk, was the agent for the most famous, influential, recognized man in the world. Not Bill Clinton, who was then the President of the United States.

No, Falk represented a professional baseball player who was looking to make a career change.

After weeks of bated breath speculation and hope, on March 18, 1995m,  Falk’s client Michael Jordan had made up his mind. He was returning to the NBA.  Immediately. He had been practicing with the Bulls since the beginning of the month, but nothing had been made official, yet. 

Now it was time to do that. 

The NBA playoffs were around the corner, and Jordan had now finally made up his mind; he was going to come back to try to help the Bulls do what they did the previous three seasons he wore a basketball uniform.  Win an NBA title.

With no social media available to disperse this earth-shaking news, Falk knew the only way to do it was to write a press release, and blast it out via fax to every news organization they had access to.

Falk is a lawyer, not a writer or publicist, and his early drafts he wrote up were all rejected by Jordan.

According to Falk, Michael decided to take matters into his own hands. “I’ll do it myself,” Jordan told Falk, who shared the story with ESPN.

What happened next only added to the aura and mystique of “His Airness.”

Falk handed him a piece of paper, Michael picked up a pen, and with the ease and effortlessness he would show finishing off a fast break with a dunk, Jordan wrote two words on the paper.

“I’m back.” 

The director of media services for FAME was named Alyson Sadofsky, and her job was to send that release out via fax out to media outlets around the world.

Nothing was automated. She had to individually send each one out, and it took hours.

History would be re-written as the result of that two word press release.  Michael came back to try to help the Bulls in the 1995 playoffs, but they lost to Orlando in the first round.

After a summer of training he returned in October and wreaked havoc on the league the following season, leading the Bulls to the first of three more championships, and solidifying his presence as the greatest basketball player of all time.

If Twitter had been around in 1995, or if Michael Jordan was in his prime and orchestrating a comeback in 2021, could you even fathom how many likes a two word tweet from MJ announcing he was coming back would receive?

It’s safe to say it would be the most-liked tweet of all time, and it wouldn’t even be close. Currently that distinction is held by the family of Chadwick Boseman, who posted on the actor’s Twitter account that he passed away of cancer in August of 2020.  It received 7.5 million likes

Joe Biden’s tweet on January 20 of this year, saying “Its’s a new day in America,” got 4.2 million likes.

Barack Obama has numbers three and four on the list, with a combined 7.6 million likes, and Andy Milonakis received 3.7 million likes for a tweet congratulation the astronauts who just departed earth on a space mission in May of 2020.

Combine all of those likes, triple it, add another million or so, and that would be the starting point of how many likes a tweet of that magnitude would register.

There’s something old school and cool about how it the whole thing went down, and even though we view a fax machine as an outdated and antiquated piece of technology now, there was no such thing as a ‘comment section’ on it  for Twitter trolls or Jordan bashers to take over and toxify.

 

 

 

 

 

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