With the Michael Jordan documentary just a few days from its release, talks about his legacy and his time as a player in the league have exploded within the NBA community.
For the first time in years, we are going to get a glimpse behind the scenes. But for some who already have first-hand experience with his Airness, they have their own stories to tell.
Hornets big man Bismack Biyombo is one of those who had an encounter with the GOAT and recently shared about the time he beat team players “one-by-one” at 50-years-old. It must have been quite the sight.
Biyombo is quite familiar with the main character considering Michael Jordan is the principal owner of the Hornets. The big man got to see some of His Airness’ famous intensity up close during his second season in the league in 2012-13 when a 50-year-old Jordan pulled aside some of the Hornets’ guards in practice and started beating them in one-on-one showdowns.
“it was a thing of beauty to watch, he took them one by one, one by one, and we were just watching like ‘wow,'” Biyombo exclaimed.
He also said Jordan gave him some of the best basketball advice he’s ever received by creating a pressure-packed situation after practice early in his career. Biyombo was shooting free throws when the Hall of Famer came over and offered him $1,000 if he could make seven out of 10.
After Biyombo made the first few, Jordan started talking, pulled the money out of his pocket to dial up the pressure and took the ball to break his focus. It all came down to the final shot after he missed a pair, and Biyombo didn’t deliver.
“I don’t need your $1,000,” Jordan said. “I was just trying to teach you a lesson. … This is how you’re going to play, like you’re playing for something every night.”
Biyombo said he’s played that way ever since, and he’s made a name for himself as a defensive presence for the Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic. He is now using the success he built on the court to give back to his home country in a time of need.
This happened a while ago, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive. The fact that a post-retirement Jordan can still beat NBA players in their primes show just how good he really is. Never underestimate what he can do on the basketball floor.
As for his personal lesson to Biyombo, it’s something that obviously impacted his career. MJ inspired him to play hard and to play as if “something was on the line” every game — because that’s no doubt how he played when he was dominating the league in his day.
It’ll be interesting to see what else we can learn about him when “The Last Dance” premieres on April 19th.