In gymnasiums where mere mortals play the game, their thoughts were focused on the pedestal where they placed Michael Jordan, who has became a kind of superhero.
"Wow, he's one of the greatest players," Peter Tanbakis said. "I'd love to play with him if I was on the court."
At 14-years-old, 56 inches tall and 80 pounds, Tanbakis is about as far from Michael Jordan as you can get.
But in his mind -- where these things really matter -- he sometimes stands right next to his idol.
"Even when we have basketball practice and I'm alone at a hoop by myself, like sometimes I think about Michael Jordan and taking the last second shot like how they go to him all the time," Tanbakis says.
At the very least, a lot of kids at Cub Scout Pack 62 were hoping to see Jordan play a little while longer.
"Hi, I'm Daniel Hilderbrand, and I just want to tell Michael Jordan that he's the greatest player in the world...and please don't quit," one boy says.
Even people who don't know basketball, know Michael Jordan. He has the kind of star power that projects beyond the court, beyond sport -- even beyond the border.
In Tokyo, a gym teacher asks a group of kids to raise their hands if they know who Michael Jordan is. Most of the hands shoot up in the air.
In the Holy City of Jerusalem, where they should know about these things, one player gave Jordan the highest praise possible.
"I think that Michael Jordan is a real basketball God," one teen says.
In London, at the Westminster Community School, coaches say Michael Jordan has brought more kids to the game.
"When they play one of them always pretends that they're Michael Jordan," a school coach says.
Michael Jordan said Wednesday that the game itself is a lot bigger than him. But he was the ultimate. Now pro-basketball players and fans will have to look around for the next big shot to take the next big shot.
Reported By Richard Schlesinger
Copyright 1999 CBS. All rights reserved.
CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff