It’s just that easy
Imagine going to your local gym to shoot some hoops and having Michael Jordan show up.
During Jordan’s first retirement, that happened on a regular basis at a gym in downtown Chicago. Jordan, before he went off to play baseball, would join pickup games at the Athletic Club at Illinois Center multiple times per week.
In the pre-smartphone era, video of these games is hard to come by. A Bulls fan and podcaster named Adam Howes uploaded a Bulls pregame show segment to Twitter on Monday night, showing Jordan towering over a few gym rats as a crowd gathered.
(Howe called the video “RARE,” and that really does seem to be the case. I tried several different search terms to find it on YouTube and all I dug up was a video uploaded two weeks ago that has about 100 views.)
The camera crew on the scene interviewed a couple of players in the game to get their thoughts on playing with a legend. One guy estimated that Jordan was only giving “about 30%” effort and could go back to the NBA “tomorrow.”
Another participant wasn’t so impressed. A guy named Aaron Watkins, who looked about 15 years old, said he knew just how to guard Jordan.
“Michael’s weakness is his shot,” Watkins said. “You just keep him around the perimeter, and when he does this move right here—palm the ball, bring it around—just don’t fall for that. Just wait for him to shoot, run up there, get the rebound, throw up some kind of lucky shot and you win.”
If only the rest of the NBA had figured that out.
Aaron is right, though. Jordan was never a great outside shooter, so if you keep him around the perimeter, it’s tougher for him to hurt you. It’s just a little tough to prevent him from driving to the hoop.
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