The Golden State Warriors may have been the laughing-stock of the NBA in the 2000s, but they did have Michael Jordan in their ranks for a bit.
If you thought that MJ would just come in cold and dominate the NBA, you need to think again. Nobody is, or ever has been, good enough to wake up from a slumber and dominate NBA competition. They’re the world’s 450 best players for a reason.
NBA players don’t make mistakes, especially against each other, when there is real silverware on the line. If Michael Jordan was to stage a comeback and do it discreetly, he had to pick and choose a group with whom he could compete at the highest level.
MJ went with one of the promising teams of the 1990s – the Golden State Warriors – to practice for his return. The team had a couple of great players in Tim Hardaway Sr, Latrell Sprewell and Chris Mullin. MJ would be glad for the practice sessions they provided.
Why did Michael Jordan train with the Golden State Warriors?
As stated before, MJ had been considering a return to the NBA for a while, but he wanted to do it discreetly.
“I might get in trouble for this,” said Tim Hardaway, then Golden State’s star point guard. “Him and (Warriors assistant coach) Rod Higgins are really, really good friends. He (Jordan) came and practiced with us two or three times.”
“MJ really wanted to play against Hardaway and Sprewell,” Higgins said, “because Sprewell was the new ‘it,’ so to speak, in terms of the two-guard.”
“Once Michael got warmed up, you could tell his objective was to basically kick Spree and Tim’s behind, and talk trash to them… he basically measured Spree up.”
“Latrell was one of the more explosive, more athletic, and he was probably one of the better players during that short run that he had,” said Tim Grover, Jordan’s longtime trainer.
“So what Michael needed to know: even though I took the time off, can I still come back and kick his a**… and in his mind he’s like, ‘I’ve been gone from this game for how long? And he’s supposed to be the top player? Alright.’ He wasn’t testing himself against Sprewell, he was testing himself against himself.”