Brooks Boyer has a detailed and truly touching Michael Jordan story to share while the 10-part docuseries “The Last Dance” runs on Sunday evenings on ESPN.
Boyer is in his 17th season with the White Sox, holding the position of senior vice president of chief revenue and marketing. But he was part of the Chicago Bulls corporate partnerships department for 10 years, including the second championship three-peat, from the 1995-96 season through the 1997-98 season.
In fact, the 1994 Notre Dame graduate and one-time basketball standout advanced from intern to full-time employee following the first three Bulls’ championships and Jordan’s initial retirement and brief move into baseball with the White Sox.
“There were people in the office who thought, ‘This run is over. They had a good run, won three championships, and Jordan is not coming back,’” Boyer said. “All these full-timers leave, and there were a bunch of us interns sitting there, and it was like, ‘Do you guys want full-time jobs?’
“So, Jordan playing baseball actually got me in full time into this industry. And then I’m selling sponsorships for the Bulls and Jordan’s playing baseball and swinging at curveballs. Thank God he was missing all of them.”
Jordan’s return to the NBA eventually leads to Boyer and a game in Memphis. Boyer had sold the title sponsorship to AutoZone, which is based there.
AutoZone contacted Boyer the morning of the game and told him that a terminally ill 12-year-old child and his family would be in a private room 30 feet away from the Bulls locker room at The Pyramid (at the time the home of the Grizzlies), and asked if Jordan could say hello. Boyer couldn’t make any promises but said he would try to arrange something.
Later that morning, when the team was flying out, Boyer noticed tension among the players, and nobody was talking. He learned that coach Phil Jackson and Jordan had gone at it during a rough morning practice.