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Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Updated: September 26, 10:56 AM ET
Tale of Tape: Washington Mike vs. Vegas Elvis

By Nick Bakay
Page 2 columnist

The Second Coming of MJ. Actually, the Third Coming, but who's counting?

Will it be glorious? Or will it remind us of the disturbing doppleganger ... yes, I said doppleganger ... of a Las Vegas Elvis impersonator? After all, the guy did walk away from the game on the perfect note. But I say welcome back -- and kudos for honoring a long-standing tradition -- giving the people what they want, regardless of your ability to live up to your own past.

I mean, look at Elvis -- he wasn't exactly at the top of his game for the last 10 years of his career, and he was never more loved! In fact he's still loved, if you're willing to factor in the thousands of men who have devoted their lives to impersonating the king! Because they give the people what they want! Or wanted, as the case may be ...

The real Michael Jordan, the fake Elvis, it all comes down to how you want to be remembered. One lives in the shadow of a legend, the other will have to learn how to live in his own shadow. Let's see how they stack up at the Tale of the Tape ...

Nick Bakay's Tale of the Tape: Washington Mike vs. Vegas Elvis
Category  
Washington Mike
 
Vegas Elvis
  Advantage
The dream   To win his seventh title   To finally quit his day job at Stuckeys and marry a Priscilla impersonator   Mike
Pride takes a holiday   It's hard to stand tall in a jersey that says "Wizzz."   Your last round of cosmetic surgery left you looking more like Roy Orbison.   Push
Favorite movie  
"Space Jam"
 
"3,000 Miles to Graceland"
  Push, and pass me the DVD for "King Creole"
Tongues   Clean, and fully extended   Fat, wet and flecked with remnants of a burnt bacon and banana sandwich   Elvis -- you ever tried a burnt bbs? Lord have mercy!
Signs of age   No longer has to shave his head.   A belt the size of the Hoover Dam to hide the undulating tide of belly   Mike
Svengalis they may miss this time around  
Jerry Krause
 
Col. Tom Parker
  Push
Last job held   Absentee general manager   Absentee dad   Mike
How they get into game shape   Round up some NBA players and scrimmage   Round up some CDs and lip snyc   Mike
Can't afford to ...   Sign any more starters   Shoot TV sets in anger   Mike
Center stage   The MCI Center   Breakfast show at Binion's Horseshoe   Elvis -- you can't double down at the MCI.
Upside   Wizard fans can cheer again.   Elvis fans can squint their eyes and pretend you aren't a dead ringer for Dan Blocker.   Mike
Motivations   A perfect ending marred by an unnoticed offensive foul   Great music shouldn't go to waste -- it should be ground into livestock feed.   Mike
Compared to former self   Older, wiser   Younger, soberer, and still able to tie his shoes without breaking a sweat   Push
New position   Small forward   Between the craps table and the elevators   Elvis
Sad moment   A nearly blown layup   Stuck in the buffet line behind a Prince impersonator   Mike -- unless that buffet features a burnt bbs, baby!
Tall orders   Pretending the young Wizards have "potential"   Hitting the high notes in "Teddy Bear"   Push
Dennis Rodman   A fond memory   An occasional duet partner   Elvis ... thank you very much
Which incarnation will it be?   Bulls Mike, Baseball Mike or Nobody Beats the Wiz Mike   Rockabilly, Hollywood or Bloated   Mike
Demographics   Teammates so young they remember you from that cartoon with Wayne Gretzky and Bo Jackson   Audiences so old they toast you with shots of Ensure   Push
Tight fits   Squeezing yourself under the salary cap   Squeezing yourself into last year's jump suit   Push ... hard!
Time to hang it up   In practice, you get schooled by Tyronn Lue.   The night you get upstaged by a contortionist   Push
A sign of the times   Your teammates are actually a decent CBA team   Your "band" is actually a karaoke machine   Elvis
Damn!   Can't officiate at a wedding   Will never be asked to endorse underpants   Elvis
Playing weight   Consistent year round   Fluctuates depending on what year he's pretending to be in   Mike

So there you have it, it's all so simple when you break things down scientifically -- in a victory of the vertical game over the horizontal game, the advantage goes to Michael Jordan.

The guy has yet to make a wrong move on the court. But hang in there all you Vegas Elvii, I hear the real Elvis was recently spotted in Michigan, holding a closed door workout for Joe Dumars.

Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you: The numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at http://nickbakay.com.