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How Michael Jordan inspired Richard Hamilton’s deadly mid-range game

Michael Jordan is the deadliest midrange shooter in NBA history. His prowess would influence and inspire the next generation of All Star shooting guards, including Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Richard Hamilton.

Hamilton wasn’t just impacted by Jordan from afar, though. The three-time All Star got to pick Jordan’s brain up-close as his Washington Wizards teammate, which Hamilton still credits for helping shape his elite midrange game..

During a Bleacher Report AMA, Rip was asked to share his best Michael Jordan story and Hamilton recalled Jordan challenging him to implement one of Jordan’s more advanced moves.

“That was a kid getting the opportunity to play with the GOAT, the guy you looked up to as a kid. One that sticks out for me is playing against him in practice. People look at my mid-range game and say I have one of the best of all time, but a lot of that came off of being in the practices with MJ. I remember one time I was playing against him and he took two hard dribbles to the basket and pulled up and he was like ‘Rip, add that to your game.’ That’s the hardest play in the game of basketball to guard. And I was like, why? And he was like, because as a defender they are backpedaling so he can’t jump to the highest point to block your shot. He’s always off-balance and you’re always on-balance. People all across the league kept hitting me up like, ‘How did you get your medium-range game so good?’ From the tools of Michael Jordan. From the opportunity to be around him for the two years I was in Washington.”

Watch another midrange maestro of Hamilton’s era of the NBA, Paul Pierce, discussing Jordan’s unparalleled midrange game.