Lakers legend Magic Johnson reveals the iconic moment when Michael Jordan knew he was the best player in the whole league.
Michael Jordan and his Bulls practically dominated the whole league in the ’90s, winning six championships in a span of eight years. However, before Mike took over the league, the NBA was dominated by the likes of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
It was about time the 6-foot-6 Chicago Bulls guard would eventually take the torch from the legends. Magic revealed an iconic Jordan anecdote when MJ had announced himself as the best player in the league. The tale was depicting MJ’s competitive spirit and how he took things personally.
Back in 1992, during the “Dream Team” practice for the Barcelona Olympics, “the greatest scrimmage” took place. With over 11 future Hall-Of-Famers, the team was stacked with all-time greats. Johnson told Jimmy Kimmel how he instigated Jordan in the scrimmage:
“The scrimmage was the greatest basketball that we all had ever played in because of the fact that every player on the team was a Hall of Famer, an All-Star in their own right.”
“It was really fun. We got out on them by 10, 12 points, you know. And so, you know, I had to make Michael go to the ‘Air Jordan’ level. So I said, ‘Okay, I’m gonna go here and talk a little trash to him and see what’s going to happen’ right?”
“And this is when the torch got passed. So I said, ‘Look, MJ, if you don’t turn into Air Jordan we’re gonna blow you guys out.’ I’ve never seen a man take something so personal and then go out there and just take that scrimmage over.”
“That scrimmage was when Larry Bird and I knew that the torch was being passed to Jordan”: Magic Johnson
After that scrimmage, every player in the league knew who the new best player of the league was. Johnson further revealed the exact moment when Mike himself told Larry and Magic that he was about to take over the league. Magic said:
“It was amazing to see him come out and just dominate and I’m talking about dominating the best in the game.”
“That’s when we know that the torch was being passed from myself and Larry onto Michael. But I’m gonna tell you the moment that really got us. So, we got back to the hotel, right. And so, the NBA had built a nice lounge for the players. And so, Michael’s up there and he’s smoking on his cigar. Larry and I just sitting there, having a Coke or whatever.
“He says, guys, and he put his hand on my shoulder, put his hand on Larry’s shoulder. And said, ‘Guys, there’s a new sheriff in town.’ And so we was like, ‘oh man, what can we say?’ We said, ‘You know what? You’re right, it’s your league now.’”
After winning the Olympics with that same team, Jordan went on to dominate his USA teammates in the league. Mike’s illustrious resume proves to us why he has set the bar for the GOAT conversation.
Today, Jordan had been retired as one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the hardwood. The impact the 5-time MVP still has is absolutely commendable to see.