Chicago Bulls legends Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan brought out the best out of each other. Their former teammate Craig Hodges shared a story with The Washington Post that reflected their competitiveness.
“I can remember this time in, I think, 1990 when Scottie decided to challenge Michael one day in practice,” Hodges said. “Michael kind of backed up for a half-second. Then he proceeded, literally, to score on Scottie at will. It was incredible. I mean, Scottie Pippen even then was one of the best players in the league and Michael just rained points on him. Scottie had to step back and say, ‘Slow up, man.’”
Hodges, who was part of the Chicago Bulls teams that won the first two NBA Championships in franchise history in 1991 and 1992, shares a cool record with Larry Bird. They’re the only players to win three successive 3-point contests at the NBA All-Star weekend.
Why Jordan’s Intensity in Practice Was One of the Keys to His Success
“Practicing against him [Jordan] go heads up, I knew what he was and who he was and as far as him being perhaps the greatest player to play the game. And to know that what I saw in practice was the same stuff that I faced in a game but now I saw it in practice, so I knew what he was about,” Hodges told VladTV.
Jordan has an 11-0 record in the NBA Finals, gold medal games at the Olympics, FIBA, and the NCAA Tournament Final. The six-time NBA champion is the only player in league history to score at least 20 points in all his NBA Finals games and win the following awards: NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Defensive Player of The Year, and NBA Rookie of the Year.
Jordan’s intensity in practice had a lot to do with his success. Michael Jordan never backed down from a challenge, and he replicated his intensity in practice when he played in regular season and playoff games.
“Man let me tell you, man we thought this guy was just the devil,” former Bulls forward Horace Grant explained in an episode of the ‘Scoop B Radio’ podcast.
“In terms of the way he practiced, we thought that we were the Detroit Pistons or the New York Knicks,” Grant said. “This guy practiced so hard and if you weren’t on his team in practice you were his enemy. And that’s how driven this man was and that’s why you can say that he was the best player that ever played this game.”