‘Jordan Blew It’ – Author Explains How Former Rivals Feared Michael Jordan After Defeating Him in a High School Playoff Game

Published 05/30/2021, 6:48 AM EDT
SLUG: SP/WIZARDS4 DATE:12/03/02 PHOTO BY : JOEL RICHARDSON DIG WASHINGTON WIZARDS BEAT THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS 103-78,,, MICHAEL JORDAN HOLDS BACK CHARLES OAKLEY FROM GETTING INTO AN AGRUEMENT. (Photo by The The Washington Post via Getty Images)


Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player ever. Jordan revolutionized the sport and is greatly responsible for advancing the sport to the height it is at now. During his peak, Jordan was one of the most competitive players in the league. Regardless of the adversity, Jordan would never give up, and do his absolute best to win. But even in his career, he wasn’t impervious to failure.

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Michael Jordan costs his team the game

Roland Lazenby, the author of “Michael Jordan: The Life”, spoke in an interview about stories from the career of Michael Jordan. He spoke about a story from MJ’s high school days. He was playing against a nearby team from his hometown. The team was leading as the game was winding down. But mistakes from Jordan ended up costing the team with his mistakes and fouling out against a team he had already beaten earlier that year.

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Chicago Bulls # 23 Michael Jordan sitting next to Bill Cartwright on the bench during the Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks game on May 14 , 1993 at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

Watch this story: Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and other teammates Michael Jordan was lucky to have

“At that time, basketball had no shot clock, had no three-pointer. With a little over a minute to go, his team had a six-point lead. There’s no way with a six-point lead with a minute plus to go. And Michael made a series of blunders. He had a couple of offensive fouls, he fouled out of the game. His team lost. There was an NBA player playing against him that day. He lost to a team that he had beaten all season.” 

Friends of MJ feared him

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Lazenby added his opponents were actually friends, with whom he spent time with during his summers. One of these players was former NBA player Kenny Gattison. In fact, Gattison revealed to Lazenby that he never brought up his playoff victory from high school to Jordan, as he genuinely didn’t want to upset him and face the ire of ‘Air Jordan’.

“It was a team of his friends from across the city of Wilmington. They spent the summer going at each other on the courts. One of those players was Kenny Gattison, who went on to play in the NBA. Kenny Gattison explained that his high school team had gotten this great victory when Jordan blew it. And they were friends, they would see each other all the time in the NBA circuit. Michael Jordan was an immense trash talker… Kenny Gattison would not dare even mention that loss.”

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‘Unbeatable’: Former NBA Legend Remembers His First Playoffs Against Michael Jordan and the Bulls

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Michael Jordan was one of the greatest players of all time. But his aura was the thing that helped him dominate the NBA, and his six NBA titles are testament to that.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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