‘Poor Post Defence’: 1984 US Olympics Coach Knight’s Bold Assessment of Michael Jordan

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January 17, 2021 7:00 pm

Few people have the nerve to talk trash to Michael Jordan. Fewer can criticize the intimidating personality to his face. And none of them get away with it, except for brave souls like Bobby Knight.

Bobby Knight is in the folklore of national basketball for his role with the 1984 US Olympics basketball team. The stringent coach was behind their gold medal clinching glory. He employed rigorous selection trials that famously cut future Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley from the final roster.

But MJ was very close to facing the same fate himself. During one of the workouts, Knight was not impressed with the North Carolina guard’s defense. Being the shrewd observant that he was, he duly took notes which read

No stance — poor post defense — foolish foul.
No containment of ball.

It did not end here as he signed off with criticizing his post play once again, “No ball pressure. Doesn’t help in the post.”

Knight made Michael Jordan cry once

The 1984 US team was the dream team before the 1992 dream team. It was star-studded with Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing in the ranks. They cruised their way to the gold medal, but not before facing a few blips on the road.

FILE – In this Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media about hosting the NBA All-Star basketball game during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. Jordan spoke to his Hornets players recently via video conference call about what it takes to be a champion, emphasizing the need for accountability, even if it means making teammates comfortable (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

They came close to bowing out in the quarterfinals against West Germany. Even though they won 78-67, the coach wasn’t too impressed with their performance. To set an example, he took aim at their best player – Michael Jordan.

Now Michael’s going to deny this, but he cried. He cried after the game, because of the fact that Bobby Knight told him, ‘You should apologize to everybody in here.’ I waited for my apology because I thought he was going to actually do it. But he actually cried,” 1984 Olympics’ teammate Sam Perkins narrated to SiriusXM’s Above the Rim.

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)

All of this goes to show that His Airness’ journey to becoming the best of all-time was far from easy. He did not crumble under sharp criticism from Knight. Rather, he tore his way through it, and in the process, won the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year trophy with the Chicago Bulls.

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Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal works as a multi-sports author for EssentiallySports. His interests in sports include but are not limited to NBA and Formula 1. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of commerce, Delhi University. He has previously worked as a sports copywriter and social media handler for Multiple Cricket gaming apps.

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