I can wear a suit today and jeans with holes tomorrow, and yet people know they are seeing the real me in either outfit. I had cornrows when I was a kid, but it was before anyone knew who I was; would the public or corporate America accept me if I had them today? If I was willing to say, "This is who I am, I'm not trying to be so-and-so," maybe, but even then I'm not sure. When you see Michael Jordan today, you see Michael Jordan as a totally honest person, and when I say honest I mean real, genuine. I am who I am, and that's comprehensible to the masses and in many languages.
Thank God the "real, genuine" Michael Jordan just so happens to (a) be really different than the person he was as a kid (and the obvious imposter in that picture above!); and (b) 100% palatable to focus groups and corporate interests. I mean, can you imagine how much less money he would have made over the years if his persona deviated any from that which was acceptable to mainstream America in the 1980s and 90s?
*He dictated it anyway. Ric Bucher wrote the prose.