“At the Olympics, Michael Jordan tried to make me drink, smoke and gamble”
The biggest superstar of the 1992 Olympic Games or so, Michael Jordan stunned journalists, observers and sports counterparts with his pace of life during the festivities. Very clever, another mega-star managed to resist Her Majesty’s advances… and absolutely do not regret it!
When he arrived in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics, Michael Jordan was on top of the world. Double reigning NBA champion, spearheading the explosion of basketball on an international scale, endowed with his incredible aura, MJ knew he would be one of the main attractions of the fortnight. Determined to make the most of it, the Bulls star has pushed the limits of sleep, without ever flinching.
To make the experience profitable in the most beautiful way, Jordan was almost hyperactive. Golf, drinking, wild card games, city tours: number 23 was always busy, slept only 2 to 3 hours a night, and yet happily dominated practices and matches. A real force of nature.
Magic Johnson did not follow Michael Jordan in his crazy fortnight at the Olympics
If, at 29, Jordan was physically in sparkling shape, team co-captains Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were in the twilight of their careers, already diminished. The Celtics legend was in physical pain, particularly in his back, while the Lakers’ Showtime king had been diagnosed with HIV the previous year. So inevitably, Magic preferred to remain calm, as he told in « Club Shay Shay »:
Michael Jordan was the toughest of us all. And I’m not just talking about basketball players, but sports people. Why ? Because he could do whatever he wanted in terms of his pace of life. If I had done like him, I would have finished the match at 0/15 in shooting, no assists, and completely out of breath! (laughs) But by the way, he tried to get me to follow him on Dream Team.
He said to me: “Magic, Magic! I replied: “What then? He said, « Come hang out with me for a bit, it’ll be fun, you’ll see. » I said to him, “Mike, I can’t hang out until 4 in the morning. So go ahead, drink your bottles, go play your 18 holes of golf, smoke your cigars, sleep an hour and come get your 30 points before halftime. But I can’t do that. I can not. I know who I am.
We can imagine the smile of Michael Jordan after hearing this answer, he who is indeed known for his nocturnal escapades in the 1990s. For his part, Magic Johnson certainly calmed down at the dawn of retirement, but he lived the Los Angeles madness of the 80s during his career. Want proof? Our file on the abuses of all kinds of the Lakers version « Showtime » will leave you speechless.
Living like Michael Jordan at his peak? Many have tried, and all have failed. Smarter than the others, Magic Johnson was well aware of his limits, and did not let himself get caught up in Her Majesty’s infernal rhythm of life. A wise decision from the former, who still keeps a great memory of his Olympic experience!