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Andrew Lawrence of Sports Illustrated (who tells me that, along with Jon Wertheim, he's wrapping up a cover story about jock culture and how some big-time college sports programs are shaping up with a renewed focus on things like, believe it or not, education) e-mails:
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."
I'm told this went on for years before Scottie ever got wise...
It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.
Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004