“I’m back,” Michael Jordan announced to the world 25 years ago, but first, MJ made sure he was ready to face NBA competition after being retired for 18 months.
Jordan took part in a few Golden State Warriors practices in the lead-up to his celebrated comeback, and after hearing some ill-advised trash talking, proved he could still dominate.
According to Chris Mullin, Jordan “went out there and basically single-handedly beat the Warriors down by himself.”
Per The SF Chronicle:
Of those interviewed, two are former Golden State Warriors (Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin), one is a former Warriors assistant coach (Rod Higgins), and one is current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who won three straight NBA titles playing alongside Jordan from 1995-98.
“I might get in trouble for this,” Hardaway says. “But him and Rod Higgins were really good friends. He came and practiced with us a few times in Oakland.”
“I was on my way to practice, and (Jordan) asked, ‘Do you think it’s OK if I practice with you guys?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so, lemme call [then-Warriors coach Don Nelson],” Higgins says. “Nelly’s response was ‘hell yeah.’”
According to Mullin, Jordan didn’t show up in basketball gear.
“I was injured at the time so I do remember Michael coming down to practice and we’re basically the same size, the same sneaker size,” Mullin said. “I think we had Tim Hardaway and Latrell Sprewell at that point in time. They might have been popping off a little bit. Michael said, ‘Mully, let’s go, get me your gear.’ He went to my locker, put my gear on, and went out there and basically single-handedly beat the Warriors down by himself. And that’s when I was like, this guy is coming back.”