Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Quest For Our Three Readers.

Foul Balls, via True Hoop, who had gotten an email from SI's Andrew Lawrence, posted a story of M.J.'s competitive, gambling cruelty visited upon Scottie Pippen.

News of his imminent financial demise hardly surprise. Rather, it calls to mind the absolute coolest Jordan story I'd ever been told -- courtesy of the AP's Jim Litke, the George Washington on my sports journalism Mt. Rushmore. That said, I take everything Jim says as gospel, this story especially. It starts with Jordan shooting around at practice at old Chicago Stadium when he looks up and notices the m&m race on the jumbotron. Curious, he asks one of the Bulls' staffers what's up and learns what he is seeing is actually a dry run-through of the night's in-game entertainment, in which the jumbotron and m&m race factor prominently. (I'm pretty sure this was before shooting t-shirts out of an air cannon captivated a nation.) Naturally, MJ wanted to know if the winner of the race was predetermined. Of course the 8-bit graphics betrayed the answer: a resounding "yes".

So later that night, Phil calls a time out and Jordan & co. repair to the bench. As he's sitting down, he looks up at the jumbotron to see the m&m race about to start. So he nudges Scottie.

MJ: "Bet you 5 grand yellow takes this."

Pip: "Bet."

I'm told this went on for years before Scottie ever got wise...

I commented, confident in my memory, that Sam Smith told this story in his book, The Jordan Rules, with Horace Grant playing the role of Baby With Candy. After an Amazon 'search inside this book' search, I can find no evidence to support my memory. Anyone else remember this story from Smith's book? Anyone have an old copy of the book? Little help here, or do I need to start tattooing stats and stories across my body, Memento-style?

(Administrator's note: I just got a return email from Sam Smith, stating that he had never written about this. Surprise! My memory sucks. I'm still convinced I've heard this story before.)


Anonymous said...

The crazy gambling Jordan story I remember is that he bet money at some airport with a fellow Bull on whose suitcase would be the first through the chute.

And yeah, of course Jordan had bribed the handlers to make sure his was first through. Jordan, making millions and millions, spent $500 to win a $1000 bet.

That's either awesome, or really fucking sick.

Phil said...

Big Blue Monkey - Prbably a healthy dose of both.

Badcock said...

Phil, you read that anecdote in my bestselling book, My Life With Michael Jordan.

If you recall, I won a contest and was legally adopted by Jordan -- until he lost me in a bet to a Saudi prince and poet. Hey, what rhymes with "white slavery?"