By all accounts, the Saturday wedding of NBA legend Michael Jordan and former model Yvette Prieto was a lavish affair. It was housed in a massive tent big enough to house a circus consisting entirely of elephant performers and elephant patrons, featured Usher and Robin Thicke as live performers, and pretty much ensured that every once and future basketball star will have yet another thing in their life unfavorably compared to the accomplishments of His Airness.
Yet the opulence of this wedding presented a major challenge for its guests. What do you get the couple that has and flaunts everything? For Jordan's business partners at trading card company Upper Deck, the choice was simple: a giant, one-of-a-kind greeting card signed by 16 athletes and personalities important to the couple. Ryan Cracknell of The Cardboard Connection has details:
We reached out to Upper Deck’s marketing manager, Chris Carlin, to find out more details on this unique piece. He shared the following, "Upper Deck has enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Michael Jordan over the years. We wanted to create something that would be meaningful not only to Michael, but to his new wife Yvette as well. Over the past few weeks we have worked to collect a variety of autographs from sports legends and personalities who are close with both Michael and Yvette. Our Athlete Relations Team did an amazing job of collecting 16 autographs."
The over-sized card takes on the Shining Moments theme, which has recently been used in 2012 Upper Deck All-Time Greats Sports Edition. A photo of the couple is in the middle while a black outer frame was used for the signatures, many of which are inscribed with personal notes. Those signing the special gift are: Ahmad Rashad, Brandi Chastain, Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Dwight Freeney, Flex Alexander, Julius Erving, Ken Griffey Jr., Mario Lemieux, Richard Dent, Ron Harper, Salli Richardson, Toni Kukoc, Vince Coleman, Wayne Gretzky, and Winn McMurry.
"This unique collectible is just a small way of saying thank you to MJ for his friendship over the years and a way to wish both he and Yvette the best as they start a new life together," Carlin said, also pointing out that this is the first collectible to feature the couple together. Should the pair have children, it could make for a great family heirloom.
For now, let's put aside the idea of the Jordan-Prieto offspring passing down a giant collectible wedding card signed by Chris Chelios down through the family line in perpetuity. Instead, let's focus on figuring out why some of these people were chosen to sign the card.
Some of these athletes have obvious connections to Jordan — Ahmad Rashad is his good friend, Ron Harper was his teammate, Ken Griffey Jr. was a co-endorser for many companies, Richard Dent was a prominent Chicago athlete around the same time as Jordan, etc. If you're going to get a card signed by a lot of famous people with connections to Jordan, these are good and sensible choices.
Others are not so clear. For instance, while Vince Coleman was a tremendous base-stealer for the St. Louis Cardinals in the '80s, he's remembered primarily from old baseball fans and snarky jerks (like me) who enjoy bringing up his decision to throw a firecracker into a crowd and his unfortunate mishap with a tarp. Do he and Jordan hang out? If so, why do we not hear crazy stories about Michael Jordan and Vince Coleman terrorizing Charlotte-area nightclubs?
Yet the most shocking name by a wide margin is that of Flex Alexander, a comedian and actor best known for his starring role in the still-mocked UPN sitcom "Homeboys from Outer Space." In the absence of any other evidence, I'm just going to assume that Jordan has hired Flex to pilot his personal spaceship. We know that MJ has enough money to finance one if he wishes.
(Top image via this Darren Rovell tweet)