“Perhaps The Greatest Player To Play The Game”: Ex-Bulls Player on Teaming Up With Michael Jordan

Published 06/13/2020, 6:30 AM EDT


When Michael Jordan signed with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, many people would not have predicted his greatness. While he was extremely talented, not many would have foretold his legacy of winning six NBA championships. As he slowly gained control over his game, fans started adoring ‘His Airness’ and celebrated him.

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During his third year, the Jumpman averaged 37.1 points per game, which is unbelievable. In a physically challenging league, being relatively new to the standard, MJ had no obstacles that were hindering his path to greatness. He achieved his destiny, scaling his way to the top. 

Craig Hodges, a former NBA champion, earned his rings when he played for the Bulls after he joined them in 1988. His Milwaukee Bucks team initially traded him to the Phoenix Suns. Subsequently, the Suns’ GM called up Hodges and enquired about a potential trade to the Bulls, a move which he readily accepted. 

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The 59-year-old recently gave an interview to VLAD, revisiting his career and picking out memorable moments from it. In a particular segment, Hodges relives his time at the Bulls and what he thought of Jordan as an opponent when they faced off against each other. 

Craig Hodges on assessing the talent of Michael Jordan

Craig Hodges entered the league two years before Michael Jordan. He signed with the San Diego Clippers, before moving to the Bucks and landing with the Bulls. In his recent interview, the two-time champion recollects how he met MJ as a rival and his initial thoughts on meeting him. 

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“When I was in Milwaukee, I recall we [Michael Jordan]  were in the playoffs. And this probably two or three years before we became teammates. We were going through layup lines and we happened to meet at the half-court answer got each other up.I’m telling him, ‘Yo brother when we get together we are going to win championships’ and we go back to our layup lines.”

Hodges claims in the interview that he could foresee him playing with MJ in the future. There was something telling him that he was going to partner Jordan on the court. And he was right. 

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When Hodges joined the Bulls, he could see all the hype around MJ. “But when all of that is taken away and we practice, you could see who he was,” he said. 

“To see my brother up close and personal on a daily basis, practicing against him, I knew what he was and who he was and as far as him being perhaps the greatest player to play the game. It was fun man,” Hodges added. “It’s one of those things where there is a level of competition and you either rise to it or you don’t.”

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Arjun Athreya

2162 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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