When 23 Turns 50

readycheers.com North Carolina #23 jersey image

readycheers.com North Carolina #23 jersey image

To start this post, I have to give recognition to a U.S. female sports professional who made history earlier today. Despite all the hoopla about her personal life of late, Danica Patrick drove into the sports history books today, becoming the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500.  Congrats to Danica, and, now, on to another famous athlete…

Though we’ve already witnessed a plethora of stories in the news this weekend about basketball great Michael Jordan reaching his milestone 50th birthday today, I’m adding this post to the chorus.

As a North Carolina native and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) alumna who grew up only about two hours from Michael’s childhood home of Wilmington, N.C., I have to admit that, no matter any controversial stories that may have arisen about Jordan over the years, I usually smile when the topic of “MJ” comes up.

Why?  Because of the positive associated memories, of course.  When I hear about or speak of Michael Jordan, the days of my youth here in ACC country return.

For example, I recall my cassette tape with the radio-recorded “Here We Come New Orleans” song that I played via Magnavox boombox at my parents’ game-viewing party on that fun night in 1982 when the Tarheels beat the Georgetown Bulldogs to win the NCAA Men’s Division I National Basketball Championship.  I can still hear the celebratory shouts of joy as well as, “Jordan!”

And, what about those Air Jordan shoes?  I can recall so many of the teenage boys at my high school wearing them.  Then there were my college years in Chapel Thrill.  I can still see the Chicago Bulls posters featuring Jordan hanging on the dorm room walls of so many of my male counterparts.

The inspiration that so many Tarheels, like me, received from Number 23 on that championship night back in 1982 seemed to expand to the nation and then to the world.  Yes, before there was a Tiger or a Serena or a Venus, there was Mike.

Michael Jordan was one of the first U.S. athletes to establish himself as a unique marketing brand, and, none of us here in the U.S. were immune to the national advertising campaigns that highlighted Mike and his basketball feats, as his basketball career and star rose. Who could forget this Gatorade TV commercial spot with its “Be Like Mike” tagline?

Certainly Michael Jordan’s practiced skills and God-given talents helped him reach the highest peaks of basketball success, but, without doubt, a massive marketing machine also helped his star ascend — so much so that millions of people today are reflecting on what it means when number 23 turns into number 50.

For me, today evokes happy memories of long-gone Tarheel times and is a reminder of how much a Tarheel can achieve.  Years ago, I realized that I’ll never, “be like Mike.”  But, that’s OK. I’m content just to like Mike and wish him all the best.  Thanks for the memories and Happy 50th, Number 23!

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Passwords Protected?

Password and Username fieldsThis post is part of a 2012 monthly series of MySheCave.com posts on the topic of the U.S. Constitution.

Bob Sullivan’s online article, “Gov’t agencies, colleges demand applicants’ Facebook passwords,” is a quick reminder that questions about the U.S. Constitution and the specific liberties that the Constitution protects continue to be raised in today’s world.

The article, focused on the fact that some universities and employers are now demanding access to individuals’ private social media content, raises questions about whether those demanding organizations may be violating the rights of the individuals involved – rights that some would argue are guaranteed by the Constitution.

For example, a Washington D.C.-lawyer quoted in the article states: “I can’t believe some people think it’s OK to do this.  Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us.  It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email. …As a society, where are we going to draw the line?”

I was personally surprised to learn that my alma mater, The University of North Carolina, recently revised its handbook, adding a provision that requires each athletic team to “identify either a coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of their team members’ social networking sites.”

Do you think that employers and universities should be able to require individuals to divulge their user names and private passwords for the social networks to which they belong?  And, if not, which individual right or rights do you think are denied when such policies exist?  Sullivan’s article references the individual right to privacy as well as to the right to free speech.

Turning back to the Constitution, do you know which Article or Amendment provides for an individual’s right to free speech?  The answer is Amendment 1, the First Amendment.  And, what about the right to privacy? Is that right protected by the Constitution?  The author of the online article, “Exploring Constitutional Conflicts,” contends that the Constitution “contains no express right to privacy.”

It seems like there are two sides to the social media coin today.  On one hand, we’ve recently seen social media tools like Twitter aid individuals in reclaiming their rights and defeating oppressive government regimes like Mubarak’s in Egpyt.  On the other hand, in the instances like those referenced in Sullivan’s article, social media technologies seem to be putting individuals’ rights at risk.

When it comes to the question of employees and universities demanding individuals to share their user names and Facebook passwords, which side are you on, and do you think the Constitution addresses the question?

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