Michael Jordan once called an Olive Garden to tell a Bulls teammate he was getting traded
Brad Sellers, who was drafted in 1986, was promised to be the first 7-foot small forward. He quickly saw that promise vanish with the arrival of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in the draft the following year.
Irked by his waning minutes with the Bulls, Sellers went to Jordan in 1989 to ask him for help to find another franchise to go to:
“I told MJ, ‘You got to go in there and tell them that this is not going to work for me here,’” said Sellers, according to Jerry Bembry of The Undefeated.
“You really want me to do that?” Jordan asked.
“Absolutely,” Sellers replied.
“OK,” Jordan said. “I’ll do it.”
The following day, Jordan tracked down Sellers, who was eating some chicken parmesan at Olive Garden. The Bulls big man was interrupted by a restaurant manager during his meal:
“Michael Jordan’s on the phone.”
Sellers took the call.
“They’re trading you to Seattle tomorrow,” Jordan told him. “Good luck, B.”
Talk about shadow-GM power.
LeBron James has been lauded and criticized for his behind-the-curtain machinating of the front office, but if we’re talking efficiency, Jordan takes the cake here.
Jordan was known to only want teammates who wanted to win as bad as he did, or at least close to it. By that time, Jordan already knew Pippen could be groomed into a good partner with him on the Bulls, already excelling defensively and boasting strong athleticism and natural passing instincts.
By telling Jordan he wanted to be traded, Sellers acknowledged he was no longer all in on winning by complaining about his role with the Bulls and seeking a way out. He’d come to regret that later in his career, as he only spent half a season with Seattle before being dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sellers admitted his mistake:
“When I got to Seattle, I said, ‘What in the hell did I just do?’” said Sellers. “I was young and dumb.”