For 48 hours, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
For all the trolling Kevin Durant received over joining the Warriors, Michael Jordan did it first.
Back in 1995, as His Airness was getting ready to return to the NBA after his brief retirement, MJ took his talents to the Bay Area for a 48-hour practice bonanza with the Warriors.
NBC Sports has released the debut episode of Sports Uncovered, and one of the first things they unearthed was the fact that Jordan practiced with the 1995 Golden State Warriors before returning to the NBA, almost as a litmus test for his basketball abilities.
Jordan obviously didn’t officially return to the NBA as a member of the Warriors, and he never had any contractual obligations with the franchise, but it doesn’t make the anecdote any less fascinating.
Of specific interest is the fact that the legendary drive we witnessed in The Last Dance was on full display from MJ despite the fact he had been away from the NBA and seemingly chilling out in the world of minor league baseball.
Michael Jordan joined the Golden State Warriors for 48 hours
“Once Michael got warmed up, you could tell his objective was to basically kick Spree and Tim’s behind, and talk trash to them,” then-Warriors assistant coach Rod Higgins said. He would later add: “Michael was a Warrior for 48 hours.”
Tim Hardaway was a member of the Warriors at the time and told NBCSports that it didn’t take long for him to see that Michael Jordan was back in more than just the literal sense.
“We knew he was coming back then. He just took over our practice, just took over our practice. He got five guys that wasn’t playing that much, and he said ‘us seven will play you all’s seven in a scrimmage’, and it was like he never left,” Tim Hardaway said to NBC Sports and Sports Uncovered.
The legendary hustle Jordan had in practice is familiar in more than one way. While we saw it in the archival footage in The Last Dance, the story Chris Mullins tells sounds awfully familiar.
Mullins details how Jordan specifically picked him to be on his team in a scrimmage, knowing that Mullins was injured and that he’d have to carry the load against a healthy opposing squad of star players.
Needless to say, Jordan won.
Shades of that were seen over a decade later when Jimmy Butler did an almost identical thing when, on one of his last days with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he dominated a healthy squad of players to make a point about who the real star in the room was.
Talk about wanting to be Like Mike.
Check out the first episode of Sports Uncovered below: