Dominique Wilkins, Horace Grant Take Part in Gatorade’s ‘Be Like Mike’ Event

The legends talked all things Jordan.
by February 16, 2015

This year marks Gatorade’s 50th anniversary. To celebrate, the company hosted¬†an event honoring¬†its most legendary campaign, Be Like Mike, and its most legendary player, Michael Jordan, during All-Star Weekend.

On Friday morning in midtown Manhattan, Dominique Wilkins‚ÄĒMJ’s old foe‚ÄĒand Horace Grant‚ÄĒhis old teammate‚ÄĒran kids through a¬†Be Like Mike¬†experience. Participants were able to re-enact Jordan’s¬†all-time clutch¬†shot against the Cavaliers and his ridiculous ’89 Dunk Contest jam. Gatorade also released a remastered version of the Be Like Mike¬†ad (which you can watch above).

When Wilkins and Grant were done helping young visitors tap into their inner Jordan, they separately took a few minutes to talk to a small group of reporters. Needless to say, Jordan was on the mind.

* * *

On Jordan’s game-winner against Cleveland…¬†

Horace Grant: One¬†of the biggest shots that he ever made to kinda put the Bulls¬†on the map against the Cavaliers. What¬†a great leader, a passionate guy about his¬†craft, meaning basketball. Such a hard worker, and what made him so special‚ÄĒother than that big shot‚ÄĒwas that he never let his teammates¬†down, and made us work just as hard as he did.

On getting involved with Gatorade’s Be Like Mike event…¬†

HG: Once¬†they said, ‘Re-enacting that shot from ’89,’ and this was Gatorade’s¬†50th year, I’m like, I’m¬†in. MJ. Bulls. Gatorade.

On his favorite¬†one or two MJ moments…¬†

HG:¬†One or two?! Um… I remember playing Detroit with the Bulls, and James Edwards¬†hit me with a fierce elbow‚ÄĒthat was legal in the day. He hit me and I¬†went down. MJ¬†came over and grabbed me by my shoulders and said, ‘Don’t let them see you hurt.’ From¬†that point on it was like ‘OK, I know what this man is all about.’ Because¬†if your¬†enemy sees you hurt, they’re¬†gonna attack.

On if Grant¬†had his own Be Like Mike moment…¬†

HG:¬†I wish I could have. My¬†thing was to rebound¬†and block shots and hit that 17-footer whenever they passed me the ball [laughs]. If I tried to Be Like Mike¬†I don’t think we would have¬†been that successful. I guess¬†the closest thing you could say is drinking some Gatorade!

On MJ’s best Be¬†Like Mike moment…¬†

HG:¬†Carrying¬†his teammates. That’s¬†Mike. He¬†would let us do our thing, but when¬†he had to put on that cape, that Superman¬†cape, he just put it on. I mean,¬†I can’t¬†really truly describe it… If we’re¬†down 15 points, we had the confidence as a team, but we looked to our leader to get us out. And man, that guy didn’t disappoint.

On if he ever had a better teammate than Jordan…¬†

HG:¬†No question. Best¬†teammate. Not taking anything¬†away from other guys I’ve¬†played with over my career. MJ¬†embodies leadership, passion and work ethic on and off the court. In¬†terms of off the court during the summer, I¬†have never seen someone work so hard at his craft. Meaning¬†that you know everybody gets all the accolades during the season, but behind the scenes during the summers, it was jump shot, jump shot,¬†jump shot. When¬†he first came in [to the League], that three-pointer wasn’t there. He worked on that during the summer. We¬†played Portland¬†in the Finals, he dropped like 6 threes, and he shrugged like that, that was¬†a testament¬†to his work.

On¬†rival Bill Laimbeer…¬†

HG: I¬†can’t even say that name. You¬†know, Bill¬†is Bill. Back¬†then it was such a rivalry, but we keep it on the court. Bill Laimbeer¬†was a guy you love to have on your¬†team. He’s¬†just a thorn in your side, but a heck of a player.

On whether he wishes there were more guys with that attitude today…¬†

HG: They would be arrested right now.

* * *

On Dunk Contest participants¬†these days…

Dominique Wilkins:¬†I¬†would love¬†to see star players get involved in the¬†Dunk Contest. But, for whatever reason, guys don’t wanna get involved anymore. I think you should eliminate all the props. Give¬†the guy a pair of sneakers a basketball and tell him to go. Because¬†then you don’t¬†take away¬†the element of surprise, and¬†that’s¬†when you can tell real dunkers. Do it without¬†the props.

On remembering¬†old contests…¬†

DW:¬†Those memories never go away. They’re¬†like memories of yesterday. They¬†were some¬†of the greatest times as a basketball¬†player that I¬†can think of. I don’t think you’ll¬†ever see those again. I think what ended up happening¬†is Mike¬†and I set the bar too high. Guys¬†don’t wanna reach that bar.

On participating in Be¬†Like Mike…

DW:¬†It’s great. It¬†puts a stamp on what Michael¬†did for not just basketball¬†but Gatorade. He¬†was that guy that started the Be¬†Like Mike campaign. It’s¬†a wonderful campaign to this day.

On his greatest Jordan memory…

DW:¬†I got some good ones and some bad ones. The¬†good one is that I competed¬†against the greatest 2-guard to ever play. Mike¬†and I¬†had friendly rivalries. We¬†would compete to the point where it was an anticipated game or contest that we were part of. We¬†wanted to compete against one another. That’s how¬†you tell where your place is as a superstar.

On the mentality entering games against Jordan…¬†

DW:¬†Real¬†competitors don’t treat every game the same. Because¬†you never know what to expect game in and game out, playing against¬†a different¬†player every night. You had¬†to change your play based on what that player brought to the game. If I’m¬†playing against Dr. J, I’m going to approach¬†him differently than when I played against Larry Bird.

On his favorite¬†MJ¬†dunk of all time…¬†

DW:¬†He had a lot of them. Um… Probably the¬†one where he jumped and he went from the side and was swinging it from side to side.

On who will win the Slam Dunk Contest…¬†

DW:¬†Who’s in it? I don’t know who’s in it.¬†[Informed of contestants.]¬†I think LaVine.