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His occasional golf partner, Tiger Woods, won his fourth straight major. His friend and fellow owner, Mario Lemieux, dominated the Pens' 2-1, series-evening win over the Capitals. His UNC roommate, Buzz Peterson, just got the Vols hoops job. His Gatorade co-star, Mia Hamm, won in her WUSA debut. His old Birmingham Barons mate, Al Levine, had a nice outing for the Angels the other night. His former teammates --Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper, Horace Grant and Steve Kerr -- are prepping for the playoffs with their post-Bulls teams. His fellow ESPY perennial, Annika Sorenstam, is going for a five-peat.

So, we're left with two thoughts: 1) Everything Michael touches -- 'cept the Wizards -- turns to gold; and 2) We'd also be wistful if our old pals were living it up in the world we once owned. Jordan's power is such that he can stop the sports world from spinning at one of its busiest times -- NBA and NHL playoffs, start of baseball, NFL draft, horseracing's Run for the Roses, college hoops' Run for the Exits -- while we wonder whether to cast our ballot for his "99.9% sure I won't play again" or Mario's "he's going to give it a shot."

Meanwhile, baseball folk gathered in MJ's hometown of Wilmington, N.C., to remember a man Henry Aaron described as "a player's player" and Joe Morgan called "my hero." Hall of Famer Willie Stargell wasn't as famous as Jordan, but Pops did for Pittsburgh what MJ did for Chicago, and few jocks ever got as many gold stars for leadership as Stargell did.

Oh, and here's a fact for Jordan, 38, to file away: Stargell, at 39, was National League MVP.

Steve Wulf is executive editor of ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at

This article appears in the April 30 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

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