February 16, 2011
Like all the great mysteries throughout history, this one features Canadian pop stars, a late-night talk show host, bald caps, a counterfeit statue of the greatest basketball player who ever lived and, of course, Will Perdue. Join us as we unravel the mystery of the incorrectly numbered Michael Jordan statue.
When a picture of the late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel shaving the head of Justin Bieber went viral late last week we didn't have the same reaction as Tweens, Canadians or Tom Brady. While they were busy creating the biggest fake national panic since the "War of the Worlds," we were more wondering why that Michael Jordan statue behind Kimmel was wearing No. 32? Better yet, why is there even a statue of MJ on his set in the first place?
The latter question can be answered in this clip in which Kimmel buys said statue for $650 from a guy who traded car parts for it a few years ago:
As for the former question, it's still up in the air. Jordan, of course, never wore No. 32 during his career. He wore No. 23 for the vast majority of his time in the NBA and donned No. 45 briefly during his comeback. At the 1984 and 1992 Olympics, he was No. 9. For one game, he even wore No. 12 thanks to a jersey mishap. He never had No. 32, though.
Though we couldn't pin down the exact reason for the error, there are plenty of theories. It could be an intentional error to avoid trademark infringement (which probably doesn't work since copying the Bulls jersey itself is illegal). Perhaps the creator mixed up his numbers. Or maybe it's a veiled tribue to former Bulls No. 32 Will Perdue. A similar misnumbered statue exists at a shopping mall in Dubai, which means this wasn't an isolated error.
All things considered, $650 is a lot to spend on a bad statue with an incorrect number. There are so many useful things Kimmel could have bought with that money instead. Like this.
Update: A few readers have sent in pictures of Jordan statues around the world. The first was seen in the parking garage of a Puerto Rican hospital:
Anoher was found at a TGI Friday's in Edinburgh, Scotland:
In the most interesting twist, the University of Texas book store apparently received a shipment of the statues a few years ago. They were adorned with the appropriate jerseys:
Thanks to readers David, Santi and James for the tips.
Follow Yahoo! Sports on Facebook and be the first to know about the most interesting stories of the day.
Other popular Yahoo! Sports stories:
• Oprah lands Michael Vick interview after dropping bet
• Video: The longest alley-oop in the history of NBA
• ESPN's terrible way to show a basketball game