Michael Jordan was one of the rare superstars in the NBA that had a clause in his contract, which enabled him to play pick-up games whenever he wanted. After Jordan retired from the NBA in 1993 and started playing baseball, he would, on several occasions, play pick up games at Athletic Club at Illinois Center. Podcaster, by the name of Adam Howes, uploaded a video segment on Twitter, showing Jordan playing against everyday people in the gym during his first retirement.
The crew that took the footage that day was able to interview two players who were fortunate enough to go against Jordan, which is not something everybody had the opportunity to do. One of them said that Jordan is playing at around 30 percent against everyone, which is more than enough for him to be the best player on the court. On the other hand, a young teen by the name of Aaron Watkins said he figured out how to stop Jordan and what is his main weaknesses as a basketball player.
“Michael’s weakness is his shot. You just keep him around the perimeter, and when he does this move right here—palm the ball, bring it around—just don’t fall for that. Just wait for him to shoot, run up there, get the rebound, throw up some kind of lucky shot and you win.”Aaron Watkins, via Adam Howes
RARE footage of Michael Jordan playing pickup ball post-retirement at the Athletic Club at Illinois Center, circa January 1994. pic.twitter.com/ZqSRIayQcO
— Adam Howes (@Howsito) May 12, 2020
Maybe his advice could have helped some teams that faced Jordan and the Bulls in the playoffs. Most of the former players and coaches said Jordan had no real weakness in his game even though when he entered the NBA; he wasn’t know as a great shooter, at least not as effective as he was later in his career. Some even argued that the only way you could stop Jordan was if you make him take long 2s’ which is a shot he didn’t make frequently.
When kept around the perimeter, Jordan’s ability to operate and make the right plays decreased even though he had moments where he would start hitting threes as he did against the Portland Trailblazers in the 1992 NBA finals. However, when Jordan drove to the basket or find his spot in the post, that usually meant players who were guarding them were in a lot of trouble.