Tim Hardaway triggered Michael Jordan without even meaning to

Even when he bid goodbye to basketball for the first time, Michael Jordan still played some pickup games. According to Tim Hardaway, he once played a scrimmage with the Golden State Warriors and proceeded to torch them after they said that Latrell Sprewell was an All-Star.

How good is this kid?
“He was retired and playing baseball. He asked… if he could come to practice,” Hardaway recalled. “He wanted to play some basketball. He’s itching to play some basketball. He asked Rick Adelman and he said yeah. So he came to practice. We thought he was rusty. He asked ‘How good is this Sprewell kid?’ We were like, ‘Uh, he’s good but he’s not on your level. But he’s good. He’s an All-Star.’ So when we said he’s an All-Star, it seemed like, it took him… ‘Like okay, let me see if he really is an All-Star.’”

Hardaway said that they kicked their butts. That caught them off guard because they didn’t expect Jordan to be that in shape — at least in terms of basketball technique. But the man is considered the greatest of all time for a good reason. The man has perfected the sport so much that it has become part of his DNA.

Just another day
Hardaway’s story is reminiscent of the other Jordan stories featured in the sports documentary “The Last Dance.” Jordan took things personally against Clyde Drexler because the Portland Trail Blazer legend was compared to him. He also took things personally against Dan Majerle because Jerry Krause thought Majerle was a good defender.

There are many stories of Jordan seemingly looking for things to push him. According to his trainer, Tim Grover, there’s a reason behind Jordan’s weird antics. In those times when Jordan said he’d drop 50 points, he wasn’t trying to intimidate his foe. Instead, Jordan was psyching himself up. Since he said it, he must back up his words with real action, or else his opponent would call him a sissy.

Perhaps this was what made Jordan great. He didn’t need external factors to be motivated. He was already motivated right from the get-go. He just needed an extra push.