Michael Jordan turns 50 Sunday. At 50 we think about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed. We don’t get a choice.

The birthday is the reason MJ and I sit at Hawthorne’s New York Pizza on 7th Street late one afternoon this week. MJ picks the place. He sits across the booth sipping water. I drink non-water.

How do you pronounce your name?

“Back home it’s mik-al jor-DAHN,” Michal Jordan says, the syllables almost musical. “Here they usually say MICK-el your-DAHN or something like that.”

Michal Jordan played for the Charlotte Checkers the past two seasons, and this one until Thursday, when he was called up by the Carolina Hurricanes.

See? You talk to me and good things happen, Michael.

When I tried to set up an interview with Michael, I was told his people already had steered him to NBA Entertainment.

Michal, who does talk, is a defenseman from Zlin, Czech Republic.

His birthday is July 17, he’s 22, and he’s been playing hockey professionally in the U.S. since he was 17. With him this day is his 4-year-old son, Michal Jordan Jr. The younger Michal drinks pineapple juice, plays Fruit Ninja on his iPad and talks and talks. He moves seamlessly from Czech, the language the family speaks at home (Michal’s fiancée, Lucia, also is from the Czech Republic) to English, which Michal Jr. speaks in preschool.