Michael Jordan got prank called during a game against the Timberwolves, as he broke a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar record, about his mother being ill.
Michael Jordan is one of the most competitive athletes that North American sports has ever seen. His drive and willingness to win at any costs when he knows he has a chance is unparalleled. Though Kobe Bryant was the innovator behind the ‘Mamba Mentality’, Jordan was perhaps how the Lakers legend modelled it after.
The 1996-97 NBA season saw the Chicago Bulls coming off a 69-13 regular season and their 5th championship with Michael Jordan at the helm. It’s safe to say that the Bulls had climbed Mount Everest in terms of accomplishments and yet, Jordan was laser focused on earning his 6th title.
However, regardless of how determined an athlete can be in wanting to win, there are a few moments that could disrupt the flow of your game. Such a moment took place in 1997.
Michael Jordan was told his mother was in the hospital during a game.
December 30th saw Michael Jordan break Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s record of ‘most consecutive games scoring in double digits at 788’. He accomplished this feat against the Minnesota Timberwolves by scoring 33 total points in the contest. By halftime however, word got out that Jordan’s mother was hospitalized.
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A man who was posing as Larry Jordan, Michael’s brother, called Target Center to tip them in on Deloris Jordan being ill and in the hospital. This had Michael Jordan in disarray and he came out in the 3rd quarter shooting 0-5 from the field. He would pick it up in the fourth, going 4-9 from the field but the Bulls would lose the game 99-95.
When asked about the loss, Phil Jackson said, “A prank call at halftime got us out of our rhythm. Michael missed the start of the second half trying to verify that it was a prank.”
Michael Jordan echoed what Phil had said, saying, “It was tough focusing. The game didn’t really have the same meaning after that. I really don’t know. There were really a lot of unknown questions there. Fortunately, it was a hoax and you don’t want to give it too much credence. It’s just one of those things you have to deal with.”