Michael Jordan and competitiveness are basically synonyms for each other, and this lesser known story about Jordan proves this exact point.
Jordan is not only a Chicago Bulls legend, but also a UNC legend, playing some of the greatest college basketball that university has ever seen. It was at UNC where Jordan built up his reputation en-route to become the third overall back in the 1984 draft.
In that year’s draft, Hakeem Olajuwon was taken first overall, and he went on to become one of the greatest centers in NBA history. However, when it comes to the GOAT debate, Hakeem doesn’t come close to dethroning Jordan.
This was something Jordan wanted to make sure of when he visited UNC once to find some cocky young college players.
June 19/1984 – 1984 NBA Draft takes places Drafted: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley & John Stockton. pic.twitter.com/CKJVBbeHkN
— Today In History (@TodayThatWas) June 19, 2019
Michael Jordan Showed Makthar N’Diaye And Vince Carter Up For Calling Hakeem Olajuwon The Greatest Basketball Player Of All Time
Jordan doesn’t lightly to anything anyone says against him. He is competitive by nature, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to remove that part of him.
On one particular day, Jordan was visiting his alma matter which featured a very stacked team including Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison and Senegalese basketball player Makthar N’Diaye.
UNC legendary head coach introduced Michael Jordan with, well, no introduction really because he’s Michael Jordan, everyone knows who is. As players like Vince Carter stood in line to shake MJ’s hands, there was a sense of awe and surprise in the room.
To be shaking the hands of perhaps the greatest basketball player was a dream come true. So, Jordan was walking down the line, listening to each player tell him their names and shaking their hands.
When he got to Makthar, he was met with a very unusual response as Makthar asked him ‘Who are you?’ Jordan explained who he was and the two had a little back and forth about how basketball isn’t shown that much in Africa.
As Jordan was walking away, Makthar made the critical mistake of calling Jordan out saying that “Hakeem Olajuwon was the greatest basketball player of all time.” How did MJ respond? Well, he walked out of the locker room, only to come back in practice gear.
He told Dean Smith to give him UNC’s worst players to play a pickup game against their starters. Jordan and the backups absolutely destroyed the starting lineup as MJ looked for every opportunity to dunk on Makthar.
You can watch the full story here as explained by Mark J. Spears, but wow, this should prove to you just how crazy Jordan was when it came to being competitive. He could truly go to any height to prove anyone wrong.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) July 17, 2021