Richard Hamilton had the privilege to play with none other than the GOAT, Michael Jordan, during the time they spent with the Washington Wizards. Before getting traded to the Detroit Pistons, the young shooting guard could learn a couple of things from Jordan that later would shape his elite game.
During an AMA session with Bleacher Report, 'Rip' was asked to share the best memory he has from his time playing with His Airness. Hamilton told how MJ pushed him to be a better player, even urging him to adopt one of Jordan's best moves in his game. MJ was one of the best mid-range shooters in the association, and Hamilton made sure to get all the advantage he could from that.
“That was a kid getting the opportunity to play with the GOAT, the guy you looked up to as a kid. One that sticks out for me is playing against him in practice. People look at my mid-range game and say I have one of the best of all time, but a lot of that came off of being in the practices with MJ. I remember one time I was playing against him and he took two hard dribbles to the basket and pulled up and he was like ‘Rip, add that to your game.’ That’s the hardest play in the game of basketball to guard. And I was like, why? And he was like, because as a defender they are backpedaling so he can’t jump to the highest point to block your shot. He’s always off-balance and you’re always on-balance. People all across the league kept hitting me up like, ‘How did you get your medium-range game so good?’ From the tools of Michael Jordan. From the opportunity to be around him for the two years I was in Washington.”
Jordan's game and his killer mid-range was an inspiration for younger generations. Shooting guards like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and more, got inspired by Jordan and all the incredible things he did on the court and that killer mid-range.
Hamilton still remembers sharing touches with MJ, and how impactful His Airness was on his career. Their time together was short, but Rip learned good, which helped him take the Detroit Pistons to win the NBA championship in 2004.