A quarter of a century ago, Michael Jordan famously un-retired and made his return to the NBA, with his competitive fire very much still raging.
As Jordan readied to make his comeback following an 18-month hiatus chasing curveballs as a minor league outfielder, former Bulls teammate BJ Armstrong recalls goading The G.O.A.T. —who was dressed in street clothes and a pair of loafers—into an ill-fated game of one-on-one.
Mike would go on to lead Chicago to its second three-peat, completing a legendary run of six titles in eight years.
Per The Athletic:
“He takes off his coat, and we’re playing. I’m like, ‘You’re serious.’ Now, he has his shoes on. And, you know, cold weather climate, there’s soot, and here he’s playing and he’s got some loafers on. I’ve got my Bulls gear for practice and all I’ve got to do is put my sneakers on. Now, it was a joke, it wasn’t a joke. I’m like, ‘I know him, I can’t give him anything. It was for real. I’ve got to play now.’
“Before I knew it, he’s in a full sweat, in his clothes. We’re playing and no one comes on the court, but everyone is watching. I didn’t want to lose to a guy in his street clothes. I don’t care who it was. You’ve got to at least put on sneakers. Let’s be honest. I’m not losing to a guy in street clothes. I don’t care who you are. It’s fouls. That’s how it happened. He’s playing in his loafers, so the floor is all messed up. He’s scuffing the floor and we’re playing.”
The outcome is easy to guess.
“Oh, he won. He won. At the time, I was pissed. I’m still kind of pissed about (it),” Armstrong recalled, with a laugh. “And then I realized, the light never went off. Everybody was like, ‘How you going to lose to an old guy?’ I said, ‘It never stopped. That’s who he is.’ The light has never gone off, and it will never go off, because the score is always zero-zero.”