Back when Common was just Lonnie Lynn, Jr. growing up on 87th St. and Stony Island in Chicago’s South Side, Common played basketball in high school and had a dream of being in the NBA. He didn’t end up being in the NBA but he was a ball boy for The Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan joined the team in the mid-1980s.
“Yes i was there, the first year Michael…. his rookie year I was a ball boy. I was there for a couple years while he was there. I used to get his gym shoes and everything, That was my buddy when I was a ball boy,” Common said during an episode of “Live with Kelly and Michael.” “It was an incredible job. People in my neighborhood loved me because I would get the gym shoes, I actually would sell them.”
Common also speaks on his time working as a ball boy for The Chicago Bulls with Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“Jordan was incredible. … He wouldn’t tip me, but actually I made a little money off him. Somebody asked for his autograph, and I charged the guy. I said, “OK, $5.” You know I was a little kid. I was trying to make it. I needed lunch money, so I went and I said, “Look, Mike, can you sign this for this kid?” and he was like, “You sign it.” It was like a joke. … I signed it and took it back to the kid, and the kid looked at it and said, “Wait, this is not Michael’s autograph.” And I said, “How did he know?” I spelled “Michael” wrong. I didn’t get the $5.”
Common’s father, former ABA baller Lonnie Lynn, set him up with the ball boy job that led to him meeting Michael Jordan and, ultimately, forging the basketball icon’s signature in the hopes of making $5.