Michael simply being Michael

By Jan Hubbard

Twitter: @Whyhub

The sports world spent most of two decades witnessing the savage competitiveness that was Michael Jordan and, frankly, not only enjoyed it, but also idolized it. When he was a player and got that nasty, comic book-superhero look in his eyes while staring down a challenger, everyone – with the notable exception of opponents – loved it.

That includes, you’ve got to think, all current players.

For Jordan, games were combat, a test of wills, and he elevated them to levels that teetered between exhilarating and unhealthy. When Jordan became involved in a gambling controversy, it was his father who famously said his son did not have a gambling problem; he had a competition problem.

In 1992, a few of us got a glimpse of the raw Jordan – one that teammates saw daily and opponents saw nightly – while the Dream Team was in Monte Carlo preparing for the Barcelona Olympics. In a scrimmage that has become known as the greatest game never filmed, the Dream Team was divided into two squads – one led by Magic Johnson; the other by Jordan.

By the time the 10 or so media members who were covering the team got into the small arena, where the Dream Team had played a game in front of the royal family of Monte Carlo a couple of nights earlier, Jordan’s team had the lead and he was being quite vocal about it.

We learned later that Magic’s team had jumped out to a 14-2 lead and Magic and Charles Barkley began taunting Jordan. Ultimately, however, it wasn’t enough that Jordan answered by bringing his team back to victory; he was intent on loudly shoving the triumph through their ear drums.

[To read original column on Sheridanhoops.com, click here]

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