“Michael Jordan was better at baseball than basketball coming out of college”: When Bulls legend’s UNC teammate, James Worthy, broke down several aspects about Jordan

Samir Mehdi
|Published 17/04/2022

James Worthy talked about how Michael Jordan was actually better t baseball than basketball coming out of UNC and going into the NBA. 

Michael Jordan wanted to stay close to home considering the fact that he spent his days as a high schooler in North Carolina at Emsley A. Laney. So, upon being recruited by Dean Smith and his cohorts from the University of North Carolina, he knew he had to take them up on their offer despite UCLA being his dream school. 

James Worthy was a junior when Michael Jordan came in as a Tar Heel during the 1981-82 season. According to Worthy, he was the best player on their team for about 3 weeks before the eventual Chicago Bull went at him and the others in practice and proved himself to be a worthy candidate for being the best player on the team.

Also read: “Michael Jordan would score at will from the perimeter and I would in the paint”: When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dished on who would win in a 1v1

Of course, that season would end with Dean Smith and the Tar Heels winning the NCAA championship thanks to a clutch late-game jumper from the left wing to put them up for good. It was none other than the freshman Michael Jordan who hit the jumper to officially be known as Michael rather than ‘Mike’. 

James Worthy on Michael Jordan. 

Worthy would move on to the NBA following that ‘82 run he had alongside Jordan and Sam Perkins. However, having merely a year’s worth of time with MJ certainly didn’t mean he didn’t have a ton of insight about how he operated during his freshman year of college.

Also read: “Dude, who the h*ll are you?!”: When Charles Barkley was astonished at how Dirk Nowitzki dropped 52 points on a Team USA with Michael Jordan and himself

In an interview, Worthy actually admits that ‘His Airness’ was better at playing baseball coming out of college than playing basketball. This is part of the reason as to why he would go on to leave the game of basketball while on top to pursue a career in Minor League Baseball. [around the 0:15 mark]

While Jordan did love playing baseball as a kid with his father, it’s hard to believe that the greatest player of all time in one sport was actually better at entirely different sport.  

Given his batting average being a .202, it’s safe to say that the game of baseball didn’t miss out on much when Michael Jordan returned to the NBA and won three straight championships yet again. 

Share this article
About the author
Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

Read more from Samir Mehdi