Whereas it’s been virtually twenty years since Michael Jordan last hit the hardwood, the ahead nonetheless stands tall in basketball lore. Past his on-court expertise, His Airness’ relentless will to win turned the stuff of legends. That aggressive fireplace, nevertheless, wasn’t restricted to the hardwood.
Throughout his time with the Dream Group through the 1992 Summer time Olympics, Michael Jordan misplaced to Christian Laettner in a recreation of ping pong. MJ didn’t take that defeat mendacity down, although.
Michael Jordan made a reputation for himself as a legendary winner
As any basketball fan can inform you, Michael Jordan was an unrelenting winner. That pattern, nevertheless, didn’t begin within the professionals.
Jordan minimize his enamel battling in opposition to his brother, Larry, earlier than heading to highschool. There, he famously failed to make the varsity team on the first try; whereas that would have dented his confidence, MJ refused to again down. The following fall, he made the highest squad and, by the point he graduated, had turn out to be a McDonald’s All-American.
After commencement, a teenage Michael Jordan headed to the College of North Carolina; as a freshman, he nailed the game-winning shot to clinch the NCAA title. That championship could be the primary of many.
Jordan, after all, joined the Chicago Bulls because the third-overall choose of the 1984 NBA draft. Whereas he had some points getting past the Detroit Pistons, His Airness finally broke the seal and began a dynasty. Together with a stint with the Washington Wizards, MJ spent 15 skilled seasons within the affiliation, averaging 30.1 factors per recreation, taking home six championships, and claiming six MVP awards.
Dealing with dropping to Christian Laettner in a recreation of ping pong
Through the 1992 Summer time Olympics, the Dream Team’s stars spent loads of time on the basketball courtroom, enjoying intense scrimmages and cruising to the gold medal. Michael Jordan and his friends, nevertheless, nonetheless discovered time to participate in one other competitors.
Throughout their downtime within the resort, the Dream Team began enjoying ping pong; earlier than lengthy, a bracket was created, and elimination play started. Ultimately, Jordan and Christian Lattner met within the finals; MJ might have been a star, however the Duke ahead had loads of ping pong expertise.
“So, Laettner and Jordan within the finals,” NBA photographer Nat Butler recounted on SLAM’s “Respect the Game podcast,” in response to a The Big Lead. “Like, there was some facet motion occurring, we’ll go away it at that. Michael is enjoying ping pong, sweating, like fourth-quarter-at-the-free-throw-line type of sweat. For some cause, Laettner beat him.”
Michael Jordan responded in essentially the most MJ manner possible
Whereas he was in Barcelona to win a gold medal, not compete in a ping pong event, Michael Jordan couldn’t tolerate dropping in any competitors. So how did he reply to falling to Christian Laettner within the finals?
“[Jordan] threw the paddle,” Butler continued. “He didn’t discuss for 2 days to anybody. Come to search out out, he had a ping-pong table delivered as much as his room. Nobody knew about it. and he was training for the rematch.”
Ultimately, that rematch happened; if you realize something about Michael Jordan, you already know the reported consequence. “They’d a rematch two days later, three days later,” Butler concluded. “It was [something like] 21-Four. He destroyed him.”
In an look on the Dan Patrick Show, nevertheless, Laettner stated that he couldn’t recall dropping to MJ on the ping pong table. One factor, nevertheless, is secure to imagine: regardless of who received that rematch, it was in all probability probably the most intense video games of table tennis that the world has ever seen.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference