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Coach K On Michael Jordan's Manners And Humility: "He Gave Me A Chance To Have An Ego And Then He Called Me With Respect"

Coach K On Michael Jordan's Manners And Humility: "He Gave Me A Chance To Have An Ego And Then He Called Me With Respect"

Michael Jordan was the star man in the 1992 'Dream Team'. When the United States chose to send their professional stars to Barcelona to secure the gold medal, they enlisted the help of the best players in the league. And no one was better, more popular, and more important to the team than Michael Jordan. By that point, Jordan had won multiple MVPs, and DPOY trophy, and two NBA championships. So his inclusion was perhaps most key. But regardless of his stature and importance in the team, MJ was not bigheaded or egotistical around others.

In fact, legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke about his interactions with Michael Jordan during that time. Coach K made the trip out to Barcelona as an assistant coach to Chuck Daly and reminisced about a training session with Michael. Jordan had just completed a session where he was flawless and then went to talk to Krzyzewski. Being from Duke, Coach K expected MJ to banter with him about Duke and UNC. However, Jordan showed great respect and humility in front of him and sincerely asked him to help him out with his routine.

“It was after our practice because he didn’t make a mistake their first practice. I’m just sitting there and he came over and he says ‘Coach, would you please (work with me)? I’d like to work on some of my offensive stuff, would you please work with me?’. I thought he was coming over to give me a hard time because he’s from North Carolina and I’m from Duke. And I actually think it was his way of making me feel comfortable…When it was over, he said ‘thanks’. He could have said ‘hey, get over here idiot and work with me’ and I would have done that…He gave me a chance to have an ego and then he called me with respect (coach), he said please and thank you. In other words, there was no organizational chart where he was the top guy and I’m here on the bottom.”

Coach K added that Jordan could have very easily berated him and made him the subject of jokes and mockery. But rather, MJ was humble and respectful toward the coach. Jordan made sure that there wasn't an environment where MJ was held in higher regard to everyone else. Despite having all the right to exercise his power and influence, Michael Jordan exhibited class and grace toward his teammates and coaching staff.