Michael Jordan was selected as the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. It was an era dominated by the big men, and Michael was not an extraordinary prospect coming out of college. No one had foreshadowed his greatness. In fact, before receiving a signing bonus of $250,000, he had a unique pre-draft workout, as narrated in ‘Michael Jordan: The Life‘ by Roland Lazenby.
Michael Jordan showed signs of greatness while playing for the University of North Carolina. He won the NCAA championships with the Tar-Heels and was awarded the 1984 National Player of the Year. Despite the achievements, he dropped two places in the draft as the Houston Rockets elected to select the 7ft center in Hakeem while Portland made the terrible decision of selecting center Sam Bowie. This led Michael right into the lap of the Chicago Bulls.
Michael Jordan’s Unique Pre-Draft Workout
As a process in the NBA, the players named in the draft class have to undergo a mandatory Pre-Draft workout. The workout involves a series of drills that tests the skills, endurance, stamina, and speed of the players. However, Jordan did none of that and had a rather easy entry to the league. All he had to do was show up for an interview. Here is an excerpt from the book:
“Nobody, including me, knew Jordan was going to turn out to be what he became,” Thorn recalled. “We didn’t work him out before the draft, but we interviewed him. He was confident. He felt he was gonna be good. It was obvious that Michael believed in himself, but even he had no idea just how good he was going to be.”
The General Manager of the Chicago Bulls – Rod Thorn, admitted to not knowing the extent to which Jordan would scale. Taking nothing away from his decorated college career, it must have been one hell of an interview with Jordan that convinced the Bulls team to draft him at No. 3. And boy, did they make the right decision!
Rod Thorn had his doubts about MJ
Rod Thorn was skeptical about drafting Michael Jordan as the third overall pick. In fact, he was looking to trade him but could not finalize a deal. In hindsight, Thorn must be thanking his lucky stars for possibly making the biggest mistake in the history of sports.
From the perspective of the General Manager, he was looking for a player that could help him win now. It was the era of the big men, and teams trusted them to transform the roster. Over the years, that notion has caught up with multiple teams and they have made blunders. Ask the Trail Blazers GM, and he would grudgingly admit it!