• AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
  • Michael Jordan’s Highland Park estate

Near the conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises, there is a scene of searing power. A lawyer is reading the will of Bruce Wayne, believed to be deceased. He comes to the disposition of stately Wayne Manor.

“The house and grounds are left to the city of Gotham,” says the lawyer, speaking in voice-over, “on condition that they never be demolished, altered, or otherwise interfered with, and that they shall be used for one purpose, and one purpose only. . . “

We see a school bus pull up, and Father Reilly shepherding children forward. They gaze in awe at the stately manor.

” . . . The housing and care of the city’s at-risk and orphaned children.”


When I read in the Sun-Times over the weekend that Michael Jordan has put his Highland Park mansion up for auction, it occurred to me that he had not asked himself the important question: What would Batman do?

According to the Sun-Times, Jordan’s 7.39-acre property features “15 heated garage spaces, an outdoor fireplace and kitchen, fitness studio, upstairs library, home theater, cigar room with walk-in humidor and a tennis court.” There’s a gymnasium, and also a stocked pond. When Jordan put the place on the market last year he asked $29 million. He’s since dropped the price to $21 million, and at the auction on November 22 there will be no minimum.

I’m wondering if the market’s reluctance to take Jordan’s property off his hands is no less than a divinely inspired opportunity for him to recognize its appropriate destiny: to be deeded over to Highland Park to be used in perpetuity to house and care for at-risk youth. Think of the lives that could be redeemed if school buses rolled up each day and delivered Chicago’s most troubled children to Jordan’s North Shore paradise.

There is little Jordan could do to enhance his reputation locally beyond the heights it has already attained, but surely this would be the way. Reputations fade; legends blur. But a living legacy of this sort would keep his name alive forever.