Before unretiring and joining the Bulls, Michael Jordan was with the Warriors
The Last Dance was lengthy and detailed, no doubt about it. NBA fans were given plenty of new pieces of information on the life and career of Bulls legend Michael Jordan and those around his story.
With nearly 10 hours of behind the scenes footage, interviews, and more, it’s hard to believe that some facts and details went uncovered, but it’s true.
NBC Sports has released the debut episode of Sports Uncovered, and one of the first things they unearthed was the fact that Jordan practiced with the 1995 Golden State Warriors before returning to the NBA, almost as a litmus test for his basketball abilities.
Michael Jordan practiced with the Golden State Warriors before unretiring
While Jordan would never become an official Warrior, he would essentially become an honorary team member for just a few days, practicing with Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, and Latrell Sprewell.
"“We knew he was coming back then. He just took over our practice, just took over our practice. He got five guys that wasn’t playing that much, and he said ‘us seven will play you all’s seven in a scrimmage’, and it was like he never left,” Tim Hardaway said to NBC Sports and Sports Uncovered."
The Warriors ended up being Jordan’s motivation for getting back in his competitive psyche as it related to basketball. Having been away for more than an entire season at that point (Jordan was playing professional baseball at the time), the Warriors were collateral damage in his will to get back into the game and see how he could keep up.
"“Once Michael got warmed up, you could tell his objective was to basically kick Spree and Tim’s behind, and talk trash to them,” then-Warriors assistant coach Rod Higgins said. He would later add: “Michael was a Warrior for 48 hours.”"
Chris Mullin detailed how ready Michael was, despite being away from the game for so long.
"“I always thought he was coming back, but a day like that… he was just so fit, so it wasn’t a physical thing, but seeing him on the basketball court and playing against, Sprewell was a really good player and he was in midseason form, for him to do that, I thought it’s just a matter of time.”"
While Jordan was no slouch in his time away from basketball, still playing sports competitively, the body usage is different for each sport. Jordan was probably using some muscles that hadn’t seen much action in the last year and a half or so.
The fact that Mullin couldn’t even tell just goes to show how ready Jordan was, and how freakishly athletic he was, not having deteriorated noticeably since retiring for the first time.
One of the possible reasons Jordan wanted to work out with the Warriors, outside of being friends with Higgins was perhaps that some viewed Latrell Sprewell as the “next Jordan.” If Jordan could keep up with Spree, he could keep up with anyone.
Sprewell had gone on a tear to start his career, making the All-Star team in his second and third season in the league.
And of course, I know you’re wondering. Jordan wore 23 with the Warriors.