Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond: ‘If You Didn’t Make Michael Jordan Work, He Was Gonna Embarrass You’

Published 11/26/2021, 2:11 AM EST
Michael Johnson #23, shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls prepares to make a shot during a Central Division game in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 1988 – 1989 season at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, United States. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images)


It isn’t surprising to hear the name of Michael Jordan as one of the most talented players. Jordan was glorified for his ability to score. However, he did not compromise on the defensive end as he went at players situated at every position. One person who gave Jordan a hard time was Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond, a fellow scoring shooting guard.

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Richmond announced himself by winning Rookie of the Year in 1988. In just his first season, he averaged 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists as a rookie. However, it was his time with Sacramento that made him a big name in the league. While Richmond did not enjoy playoff success in his glory days, he was always a top performer. However, playing in that era, he came up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls many times.

Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

Recently, the Hall of Famer spoke about what it was like playing against Jordan and how ‘His Airness’ could make you pay.

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Mitch Richmond on the Michael Jordan experience

Mitch Richmond had his battles against Jordan cut out for him. MJ even said that Richmond is one of the toughest shooting guards that he went up against. Richmond explained how Jordan was extremely quick and could cross anyone in just one step. Furthermore, the 56 year-old spoke about his experience going up against MJ.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 26: Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan watches as Roger Federer of Switzerland plays against Marinko Matosevic of Australia at their men’s singles first round tennis match on second day of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 26, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Richmond said: “So, you know, you had to do a lot of freaking film work on him because he had every move. And he can get by you with one step. And once you get by you, he’s taken flight. So I think football helped me with that because I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared physically. And one thing I had to be I had, I had to be physical with him.”

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“You still got his 30. I had to get physical with him and I got 30.” He further added, “You know, you have some guys saying man is too tired to play defense. But the whole idea is to stop the other guy, stop the other guy and trying to stop him and make him work. And if you didn’t make Michael work, he was gonna embarrass you.”

Having the competitiveness that Jordan did, it is no surprise that he would take anyone down if given the chance. Jordan was an assassin throughout his game and he came right at any player who was in front of him. Both Richmond and Jordan were fearless stars. However, Jordan found more success being part of the Bulls dynasty while Richmond was the lone star.

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If Richmond played with a better cast, do you think he would have more championships? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

513 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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