1. Michael Jordan
I’ve been scheming for a legitimate reason to request an interview with Michael Jordan and exploit my profession for personal gain (someone please hire me to write a profile on him). I don’t care so much about the interview itself, other than that it would grant me more of his time than a quick handshake — there’s nothing I particularly want to ask him. I just want to stand in the presence of my childhood hero, to meet the man that I idolized for so long. Y’all can throw as much shade as you want or make a Crying Jordan meme out of my unrequited aspiration, but nobody can knock MJ from the top of my list. And to be honest, the whole reason I wrote this is just a weak attempt at putting the idea out into the universe.
2. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is far and away the next name on my list. When she announced a tour date in Greensboro last year I relentlessly pursued an interview for eight months leading up to the show, but I didn’t even make it past the coliseum staff to her people. I don’t want to be her in the same way I used to dream of becoming Jordan, but she’s undoubtedly my star from the present.
3. Assata Shakur
Five years ago, at the very beginning of my professional career in journalism, I wrote a list of 10 people I’d like to interview. Former Black Panther Assata Shakur — considered a fugitive by the FBI and a political refugee on the lam in Cuba by others — ranked third on my list then and still does now. The desire to meet and/or interview her is only heightened by the cooling of tensions between this country and the island nation, which may put her freedom in jeopardy.
4. Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morello
I’d be equally happy to run into the former lead singer or guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, the only band that ever truly qualified as my favorite. Like everyone on this list, I’d lose it if I ever met either of these musicians, and would stumble over my words as I tried to explain how much I revere them while asking to take a selfie. Until then, I’ll just keep following Morello on Instagram.
5. Aziz Ansari
I originally put actor Wendell Pierce here, and it’s true that I’ve been thinking about what it’d be like to get a drink with the star from “The Wire” and the forthcoming Confirmation since hearing him on Another Round podcast. And while I’d love to meet him and a wide range of other celebs, Aziz Ansari could probably leave a glow on the rest of my year with a simple handshake and a cool “What’s up?”