Billionaire Michael Jordan Shows a Rare Display of Sympathy Amid NBA Star’s Painful Tragedy: “He Was Just Saying..”

Published 10/26/2023, 8:18 AM EDT

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Michael Jordan was more than just raw talent on the court. His intensity and mentality were elements that he was also known for among his teammates, with some even intimidated by his vehemence. Years after his retirement from professional basketball, His Airness became the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, and certainly even made some questionable moves during his time. But he always stood up for his players.

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With the Hornets playing their first match today without Michael Jordan in over a decade, former players of the Hornets were asked about their first experience meeting the Black Cat. One NBA veteran, who has been in the league for 10 years, revealed a story from the past revealing a different side of the champ.

A different side of Michael Jordan revealed by former Hornets player

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Among the many players who played under Michael Jordan, a notable first-rounder was Cody Zeller. He was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 2013. When asked, he shared his experience of being around Jordan, revealing unheard details of his first time getting a text from the Chicago Bulls legend.

Zeller said that it was one of the first times that Mike had ever texted him. Everyone sees Jordan as this figure whose only thoughts are about winning and being the best, but there is also a softer side to Jordan. In 2019, Zeller missed a game because of personal reasons, and that’s when he witnessed the sympathetic persona of MJ.

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Cody Zeller said this in an interview with The Atlantic, “My grandpa was 95 and I had to miss a game to go to his funeral and that was the first time that I saw a number pop up on my phone, and it was MJ and he was just saying, sorry for your loss.

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The former 4th overall pick also said, “That’s who he is. A lot of people see the competitive side of things, but he really cares about his players, his team.

With the way Jordan played on the court during his time, it is often hard for people to imagine a version of him where he is not immensely competitive.

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Michael Jordan’s infamous intensity

His Airness did anything that he had to do to have the last laugh. Losing was never an option for the six-time champion. Steve Kerr revealed that Jordan scared him and the rest of his teammates. It was because of the will that he possessed. His desire to win made him different from everyone else and on occasion, even led to him lashing out at his teammates.

There were times when the opponents gave up even before they went on the court. This is because they knew what Jordan was going to bring to the table. This, along with the ego that he possessed that he was the best, made him dominate during his time. Mike himself has said that players should have an ego in order to succeed.

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So for Jordan to show such a compassionate side to Cody Zeller is just another one of many traits that we have yet to uncover about the great Michael Jordan.

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese

687Articles

One take at a time

I did not follow the traditional route to become a journalist, but my love for basketball and writing has brought me here. Seeing LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers make the iconic comeback from a 1-3 deficit in 2016 changed everything for a young engineering aspirant within me. Rather than simply looking at the game, I love to analyze how each player contributes to a team using BPM (Box Plus Minus) and other advanced metrics.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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