Bulls legend Michael Jordan was known to be thoroughly competitive and a bully, Charles Barkley and others experienced the same
Before 1989, FIBA rules specifically prohibited NBA players to participate in the Olympics as part of the US Olympic team. However, the same changed in 1989, and the USA made a roster for the ages. Heading to Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics, USA Basketball assembled a roster so great, it was nicknamed ‘Dream Team’. This entire roster went down collectively in the US Olympic Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the FIBA Hall of Fame.
The roster consisted of legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, and Christian Laettner.
At the first glance itself, it was clear that this team was going to dominate. However, no one could have estimated that they’d beat their opponents by an average of 43.8 points. While the Dream Team was bullying their opponents, Michael Jordan was busy bullying his own teammates.
Michael Jordan didn’t let his ‘non-champion’ teammates practice with him
For the Dream Team, the biggest opposition they had was their own egos. If they could find a way to play together, they would beat everyone. However, that was easier said than done. As shared by Jackie MacMullan on an episode of Icons Club, Michael Jordan was too busy bullying his own teammates.
Recalling a story about an incident before one of the practices, MacMullan said,
“Charles Barkley wanders over to the hoop. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are already there, knocking down jumpers. Another Dream Team practice was about to begin. … Jordan stopped his teammates short. ‘Find a different basket, Charles.’ He turned to Patrick Ewing. ‘You, too, Patrick. Scottie, you can stay.’ The future Hall of Famers looked at MJ quizzically. ‘Champions only!’ Jordan announced. ‘Not you, Clyde. Find somewhere else.’ Magic, a five-time champion, immediately picked up on it. He declared his corner of the gym, ‘the ring basket.’”
The ring corner would just have Magic Johnson, Mike, Larry Bird, and Scottie Pippen.
Later in their careers, Clyve Drexler and David Robinson would end up winning rings. Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, and Christian Laettner however ended up going ringless all career, and MJ had a huge role to play in the same.