Sport as Spectacle of Michael Jordan

I have devised a presentation in order to critically analyse sports as spectacle, my research question consists of how Michael Jordan’s elite NBA career elevated media speculation. By critiquing theorists such as Debore, Abercrombie & Longhurst and Tomlinson I can illustrate how spectacle is perceived in our mediated society. Media In an era of global technology, instant news, infomercials, electronic town meetings, and “Made for TV Documentaries,” the borderlines between news and analysis, news and entertainment, news and fiction are constantly shifting.

As techno capitalism moves into a dazzling and seductive information/entertainment society, mergers between the media giants are proliferating, competition is intensifying, and the media generate spectacles to attract audiences to the programs and advertisements that fuel the mighty money machines (Kellner, D). By spectacle, I mean media constructs that are out of the ordinary and habitual daily routine which become special media spectacles. They involve an aesthetic dimension and often are dramatic, bound up with competition like the Olympics or Oscars.

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They are highly public social events, often taking a ritualistic form to celebrate society’s highest values. Yet while media rituals function to legitimate a society’s “sacred center” (Shils) and dominant values and beliefs (Hepp and Couldry 2009), media spectacles are increasingly commercialized, vulgar, glitzy, which are important arenas of political contestation. Theorising in the presentation media spectacle as eclipsing and absorbing media events create first indicate how analysis is connected to (Debord,G) notion of the society of the spectacle and theories of media events and spectacles.

The strengths of media/branding when optimised efficiently can become a major media spectacle on a global scale. Michael Jordan is widely acclaimed as the greatest athlete who ever lived, named “Athlete of the Century” by the TV net ESPN. Yet he is also a major media spectacle on a global scale, combing his athletic prowess with skill as an endorser of global commodities and as a self promoter (Kellner, D) According to Abercrombie and Longhurst (1998), the effects tradition in media research was concerned about the potentially negative effects media could have on certain members of society, e. children and women. These concerns arouse though the use of mass media. The negative stance of the audience as a mass in those times reflected the fears of an impersonal life and manipulation by the mass media, expressing the generally pessimistic view of modern industrial society by early commentators. Branding An inevitable part of commercialised/mediated sport refers to branding from the examples of Nike’s Swoosh, Air Jordan and Air Max. There are different meanings associated with different brands.

Michael Jordan’s identity with the corporate label “Air Jordan” creates meaning and ideologies. Jordan secularised profile is used to sell Nikes brand as he is seen as an extension of the brand. The distinctive “Air Jordan” logo is a distinctive sign of value that gives brands prestige beyond their use value. Michael is the ultimate pitchman. In his representations he is seen as embodying the “attributes of a quintessential champion: will and perseverance, and discipline and excellence (Elliot, 1999).

Jordan and David Falk (his agent) learned how to turn Michael into a product, into a sign of himself. They reversed the usual direction of the commodity sign, that logic that connects celebrities to products. Under the conventional model, meaning, emotion, imagery, and product identification move from the celebrity to the product to the consumer (Gates, 1998). Masculinity/ Race (McDonald, M) suggests that representations of Jordan’s athletic body are constructed by promoters in ways which rely on particular associations of black masculinity, sexuality, and the nuclear family.

The carefully crafted image of Michael Jordan offers an enticing portrait of black masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is a useful tool to analyze the social implications of the cultural markers of successful masculinity. Connell (1995) developed this concept to describe how masculinities are always relational and, thus, one’s identity is continually constructed in relation to “otherness. ” Crucially, Connell sees masculinity as integrally connected with power and constantly negotiated. Alexander, 1994) notes that Black bodies displayed “for public consumption have been an American spectacle for centuries. This history moves from public rapes, beatings, and lynching’s to the gladiatorial arenas of basketball and boxing” Images of masculinity as powerful and “natural” on televised sporting spectacles offer men of all socioeconomic backgrounds one of the most powerful sites to collectively identify with masculinity and an ideology of male physical and cultural superiority (Messner, 1988; Theberge, 1991).

Globalisation Globalisation has become a fashionable term used for numerous years amongst humanities and social sciences. Usage of this term has been driven by an academic fascination with the world as an increasingly interconnected place, in which localized forms of culture have become increasingly subject to homogenizing global influences (Maguire, J) An element of globalisation can be identified by joining with Robertson (1992) in saying that globalisation refers to the crystallisation of the whole into a whole space.

The globalisation of sport on a national state level is transforming sport into three different ways. First the economic, political and cultural global dimensions are inducing a process of homogenisation of sport through western commodified sport forms. Second new social movements constitute a force in the promotion of socially progressive transformations of sport. Third, the receptivity of dominant sport forms at the national level creates different reactions of conformity or opposition. The NBA has been adept at extending its global influence.

League games are now seen in seven different countries, the league has expanded to Canada (Toronto Vancouver), Exhibition and even regular season have been played in Japan and Mexico, and teams compete in the international McDonalds open tournament (Global NBA, 1997). According to USA today, “Michael Jordan’s bigger than basketball; he’s a pop icon” The announcement of Michael’s retirement in January 1999 unleashed an unparalleled hyperbole of adjectives describing his superlative athletic accomplishments.

Yet his continuing media presence and adulation after his retirement confirmed that Michael is one of the most popular and widely known sports icons throughout the world. China: The Beijing morning post ran a front page article titled “flying man Jordan is coming back to earth” Bosnia: Jordan’s statement of retirement was the lead story on the evening television news, pushing aside the war in Kosovo. Michael is the most famous American in the world and his legacy has created media speculation from him and branding. During the 20th century sports took an increasingly international flavour, politics directly relation with economic issues.

The modernisation of sport speculation has identified sport as a multi-billion pound business. Michael Jordan’s contract to Nike not only elevated his profile but Nikes ability to strategise there athletic shoes to give consumers a false hope of an NBA career. Globalization has, for a number of years now, been a buzzword within the humanities and social sciences. Usage of this term has been driven by an academic fascination with the world as an increasingly interconnected place, in which localized forms of culture have become increasingly subject to homogenizing global influences.

The immediacy of contact made possible by the developments in communication has thus given rise to the discussion of global culture. The term globalization tends to imply that culture is handed down and, by this understanding, poses challenge to a sustained view of cultural activities and practices being formed and shaped within particular urban, regional and national settings. Relatedly, globalization works against a continuation of the idea of culture being collectively made by people within contexts of lived experience.

In short, the notion of globalization appears at odds with the position on cultural history advanced in this volume. Subject specific spectacle Professional sports is one of the major spectacles of media culture, Jordan is one of the most successful managed idols and icons of media culture. Jordan’s acclaim and popularity result in part because he is a perfect embodiment of the “Sports Spectacle” in which media culture uses high-tech wizardry to magically transform sports in to a media extravaganza (Kellner, D 2004) Jordan has signed numerous contracts from the likes of Nike, Coca Cola, and McDonalds.

Additionally developing his own cologne, athletic shoes and leading film role in Space Jam. In a commercial culture that blends celebrity, product and image, it is only natural that a sports corporation like Nike – as well as many other corporations would purchase Jordan’s star power to promote its products. (Kellner, D) states that Michaels connection with Nike calls attention to the extent to which media is transforming sports into spectacle that sells the values, products, celebrities, and institutions of the media and consumer society.

Michael’s entrepreneurial profile has enlightened his NBA career, his personal life and net worth. This combination has transformed sport sky high and into a new radical of speculation. Michael and the Nike logo is a familiar icon of corporate culture, it creates a connection of sporting prowess to Nikes product range which also diversifies spectacle of social difference. Ostensibly a brand that aims to change perceptions therefore creating false hopes of an NBA career. The exposure of Michael Jordan; the marketing of Michael Jordan.

Everything was marketed towards the things that people wanted to see, which was scoring and dunking. That Michael Jordan still played defence and an all-around game, but it was never really publicised. This speculation of a false NBA career by encapturing highlight reels such as Dunks and buzzer beaters which was strategised by Nike to increase sales of athletic shoes. (Databasebasketball, 2007). Even though Jordan was named the all time defensive player numerous times completely shows sport as speculation.

Because NBA players are always already at the centre of an eroticized and radicalised mass-media spectacle Tucker (2003). It’s not surprising that allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of an NBA superstar should be immediately seized on and scrutinized for larger lessons about celebrity, gender, and racial conflict in American society. Images of masculinity as powerful and “natural” on televised sporting spectacles offer men of all socioeconomic backgrounds one of the most powerful sites to collectively identify with masculinity and an ideology of ale physical and cultural superiority (Messner, 1988; Theberge, 1991). Still these representations offer contradictory meanings when connected with commonsense perceptions of African American men. Traits, such as aggression and brute strength, have been historically associated with both African American men and athleticism (Sabo & Jansen, 1992). This is a primary example of speculation and that history have painted a spectacle for Jordan primarily because of his African American heritage.

Michael Jordan is widely acclaimed as the greatest athlete who ever lived, named “Athlete of the Century” by the TV net ESPN. Yet he is also a major media spectacle on a global scale, combing his athletic prowess with skill as an endorser of global commodities and as a self promoter (Kellner, D) which has enabled him to become a commodity superstar and celebrity of the first rank. In Michael Jordan, globalisation, commodification, sports, entertainment and media come together to produce a figure who serves as an emblematic totem of athletic achievement.

Terrell Owens (NFL) was a huge Michael Jordan fan and had an indoor basketball court with Jordan’s Jumpman logo at centre court attached to his house (as well as wearing Jordan’s jersey as he gave the tour of his home and having a book about Jordan on his coffee table). Jordan’s jersey hung on the wall of skater Tony Hawk’s office, and Bob Burnquist (skateboarder) gushed when he talked about receiving an award from Jordan at the ESPNs award ceremony. Boxer Roy Jones Jr. wore a Jordan Jumpman sweat outfit as he gave his tour. Jordan was the athlete most frequently cited by the athletes. (Hooks, b. 2004) Arguments around spectacle

Instead of saying the spectacle is commodified, Debord argues that the commodity is secularised. Commodification of spectacles is undoubtedly an important subject for analysis in the study of long-established sports events (e. g. , Tomlinson, 1996, 2002). It does not, however, explain the emergence of new spectacles, especially the secularisation of events that lack historical significance and high levels of achievement. In contrast, Debord’s argument allows us to understand the continual creation of new spectacles in terms of the production of the spectacle as the general condition of social life in late capitalist societies.

Not all sports events can become successful spectacles. Consistent with the emphasis on image, media representation is crucial to the success of secularisation media fascination with, and history of inflating, allegations of Black male sexual deviance and violence might be more likely to approach with caution new media spectacles involving Black masculinity central to the concept of spectacle is the emphasis on image, which is best illustrated through the process of “celebrification” (Rojek, 2001) in popular culture. Michael Jordan’s spectacular prowess has made him one of the most successful African American sports figures and businessmen.

Combing spectacles of race, sports glory and business successes. Yet Jordan’s participation in a series of scandals and periods of bad press, mixed with his laudatory media presentation, captures the contradictions of spectacle culture, illustrating that those who live by media spectacle can also be brought down by its cruel omnipresent power and eye of surveillance (Kellner, D) This emphasises that spectacle has brought him happiness and success from his elite NBA career but contrasting has long lasting effects of sport speculation therefore creating negative images perceived by the media.

Debord’s presentation of spectacle as the intensified passive of human agency then over determines the overall analysis. In such cases the analysis would lose nothing at all if Debord was not cited and if the multifaceted dimensions of spectacle were allowed to speak for themselves. Relating to Kellner he has drawn up upon Debord in the analysis of Michael Jordan and his sponser Nike. He sees spectacle, along with images and commodities, as keys aspects of media and consumer society.

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Sport as Spectacle of Michael Jordan. (2017, Mar 09). Retrieved from