Michael Jordan had hidden agenda for secret Warriors practices before Bulls return
A determined Michael Jordan found his way back to the NBA, curiously, by practicing with the Golden State Warriors during the MLB strike before his eventual return to the Chicago Bulls from retirement in 1995.
Chris Mullin, who was Jordan’s Dream Team teammate at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, recently reflected upon the time when Jordan sought out the challenge, as did assistant coach Rod Higgins. Not surprisingly, MJ had an agenda.
“What I remember is him walking on the court, after not playing, probably playing 36 holes of golf the day before, and dominating,” said forward Chris Mullin, who was injured at the time but observed from the sidelines.
“MJ really wanted to play against Hardaway and Sprewell,” Higgins said, “because Sprewell was the new ‘it,’ so to speak, in terms of the two-guard.
“Once Michael got warmed up, you could tell his objective was to basically kick Spree and Tim’s behind, and talk trash to them… he basically measured Spree up.”
Mullin could smell Jordan’s maniacal competitiveness, even after being away from the NBA for a year and a half. Jordan made his point:
“He wanted to go after the best, youngest player he thought could be better than him,” Mullin said of Sprewell. “And he (Jordan) put it to rest that day.”
Jordan’s personal trainer, Tim Grover, recognized what drove MJ to seek out Sprewell specifically, hoping to know not only that he could be among the best but reign supreme above them:
“Latrell was one of the more explosive, more athletic, and he was probably one of the better players during that short run that he had,” said Grover. “So what Michael needed to know: even though I took the time off, can I still come back and kick his ass… and in his mind he’s like, ‘I’ve been gone from this game for how long? And he’s supposed to be the top player? Alright.’ He wasn’t testing himself against Sprewell, he was testing himself against himself.”
As expected, Jordan delivered a master class for Sprewell, something he viewed as time well spent before declaring “I’m back” in a fax for the masses.