Former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach bared the details of how Michael Jordan gained a mental edge over Charles Barkley in the 1993 NBA Finals.
One of the stories regarding Michael Jordan and his crazy competitive spirit is from the 1993 NBA Finals. The Phoenix Suns had homecourt advantage, but the Bulls had pulled both the first two games from them. The Suns then hit back with a Game 3 win in Chicago.
What transpired after that is best described in Bach’s words:
“The day before game 4 of the Bulls Suns finals with the Bulls leading the series 2-1. Michael and Charles Barkley went golfing. They played 48 holes of golf.”
“And Michael bought Charles a $20,000 diamond earring. Johnny asked MJ, “what did you do all that for?” Michael responded, “he won’t get in my way the rest of the series, what’s $20,000 to me? Charles thinks we’re great friends. I hate that fat f**k.” Jordan dropped 55 in game 4 and Barkley never touched him once.”
How accurate is this story of Charles Barkley golfing with Michael Jordan?
Readers have raised questions over a couple of segments of Johnny Bach’s tale. First of all, they’ve questioned how legitimate it was that Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley played 48 holes. A professional golfer plays 18 holes on a tournament day, and (s)he might go for a few more holes in practice sessions.
The prospect of playing 48 holes is an unrealistic one, but that doesn’t invalidate the rest of the story. Bach’s story has been confirmed from other sources as well.
— Thulani (@Russkayy) March 7, 2014
We know enough about both MJ and Chuck to know that there’s only a faint chance of this tactic having the desired effect. Barkley did, after all, have a monster 30-point triple-double in Game 4. Barkley’s performance in that game can be best described to younger viewers as ‘LeBronesque’. It’s just that Jordan was better than him on the night.