One of the great things about being a part of that Bulls team was how awesome all the players were to me and my family. They welcomed us in and treated us like we belonged. While Jordan could be relentless on the court, outside the lines he was fun to be around and was someone teammates could count on if they needed something. People ask me how MJ treated me personally and I always respond that he was great. During that season, I had some college friends attending the game at Madison Square Garden, Michael’s last game there in a Bulls uniform when he wore the original Air Jordan’s. I was promised tickets but at the last minute was told there were no tickets available. In desperation I went to Mike and asked if there was any chance he had four tickets I could get. Sure enough when tip off came around my friends were sitting mid court on the first row of the second level.
When I think back to my time with the Bulls and how to answer that one question I ALWAYS get asked, there is one story (and picture) that sums up my answer.
After the short practice, Keith Booth, Randy Brown, Scott Burrell and I started playing round robin one on one as we often did to get some extra work in. Meanwhile Michael and the other starters sat down as we waited for the media to come in post practice. That particular season MJ directed quite a bit of trash talk at Scott. Scott was always willing to playfully go right back at him and on this occasion suggested Michael keep his old tired body on the sidelines. As the media walked in for the final moments of practice, the trash talking went back and forth as we continued to play. Finally Jordan could not stand it any longer and slowly strolled over to get in the game as the media watched. I’m not sure what the score was when he joined the game but MJ came back and won.
So the greatest player in the world on the day before one of the most important games of his professional career couldn’t simply sit by and watch others compete. It didn’t matter the potential cost or consequences; believe me the scenario of Michael stepping on my foot and rolling an ankle went through my mind. MJ simply was compelled to seek out the high that comes from winning. That day at practice he made sure everyone in the gym knew he was the best. Less than 36 hours later, the GOAT made sure the rest of the world knew.