Argentina basketball great Chapu Nocioni shares a couple of anecdotes from his NBA career, including his meeting with Michael Jordan.
Nocioni was a crucial cog in the Argentine national team that won Gold at Athens 2004. The then-25-year-old was then given a free agent contract by the Chicago Bulls.
‘Chapu’, as Andres Nocioni is popularly known, played in the NBA for 8 seasons. 5 of those were with the Bulls, with whom he built up a reputation as an unsavory defender.
He was involved in a brawl with the Heat during D-Wade’s young days. He was also suspended by the NBA for a hard foul on Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons.
Chapu Nocioni talks about meeting Michael Jordan for the first time
Nocioni first met Michael Jordan as a player for the Sacramento Kings:
“I was in Chicago and they transferred me to Sacramento. He owned the Charlotte Hornets (they were the Bobcats at the time) and we were playing the game. When he’s done, I go down the hall and pass where the team was and he was there, because he is the owner.”
“Then he comes from behind, touches me and I turn around and it was him, who wanted to say hello because he respected me for what I had done for Chicago in the five years that I was. I had never seen him in Chicago.”
Meeting Michael Jordan was a big deal for the Argentine ball player, who was 25 when he debuted in the NBA:
“It moves you, it does something in your body that is not normal. That rarely happens to us. Honestly, I was not moved to play with Kobe Bryant. I saw it as natural, I saw it as myself, better than me, obviously. Like Lebron (James), whom I defended thousands of times.”
“But there are things that moved me, such as the first training session against Scottie Pippen, meeting Jordan and watching Messi play football.”