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

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