Michael Jackson wasn't always a soccer fan. Though Jackson's childhood was anything but typical -- his early performances and frenetic family dynamics put him on a path to stardom that would ultimately make him just about the weirdest dude of all-time -- he was a typical child of the 1960s and 70s, at least where soccer was concerned.
In other words, he didn't dig it. Most kids his age wouldn't. (Plus, when you're singing on Ed Sullivan all the time, who has the energy for sports?)
But when you grow up and release insanely popular records and become the most recognizable man on the face of the planet and make a gajillion dollars, you tend to get to try new things. Jackson was no different. In 1999, he had his first experience with soccer at English club Fulham, and from that time on, he was hooked. He served on the board of Exeter City as an honorary director and flirted with buying a club team of his own. And he became a major U.S. Men's National Team fan.
Not knowing any of that, we would have thought this US Men's National Team tribute jersey -- which features a photo of Jackson doing one of his famous dance poses; we believe that one is called "I weigh approximately 75 pounds and can thus balance on my toes like so" -- was a bit callow. The ongoing tributes are questionable enough, but the U.S. and Nike actually want to try to make money from this? At $90 a pop?
Instead, it makes sense: Jackson was a soccer fan, and for his supporters, perhaps combining his fandom with their love of his music is one way they'd like to remember him. We don't really know. At the very least, it's a nice little tribute. We suppose there's room in the world for one more of those.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.