Imagine starting your career with Dr.J and finishing with Michael Jordan. That’s George Gervin for you, and he has said it himself, ‘Doc probably appreciated me a lot more than Michael ’cause I was old.’
The Bulls traded for Iceman in ’85, sending their forward David Greenwood to the San Antonio Spurs for a 6-foot-7-inch All-Star guard playing in his 14th season in the NBA. Jerry Krause pulled a trigger on the trade, saying that the future Hall of Famer has ‘a lot left’ and that adding him to the roster ‘has solved a lot of problems in the backcourt’ for the Bulls. Jordan, however, wasn’t too happy with the addition of Gervin.
“I have no comment on the trade. Just say I am unhappy.”Michael Jordan, Chicago Tribune
MJ’s reticence towards Iceman stemmed from the ’85 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis – Michael’s first selection to the Eastern Conference’s elites. There were reports that several of his All-Star teammates plotted to keep Michael out of the offense to teach the rookie a lesson in humility. In addition, Jordan`s teammates reportedly planned to leave him alone when he guarded Gervin, refusing to help out on defense. Upshot – MJ went 2-for-9, scoring only 7 points in 22 minutes of action, with Iceman being the West’s second-leading scorer with 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the floor.
Months later, the two are on the same team, and MJ’ hadn’t looked too happy about it. Now, they didn’t see much of playing time together, since Jordan broke his foot three games into the season, but the short time they were together on the floor, it was obvious Iceman wasn’t on top of the list of Michael’s favorite teammates.
“No, we weren’t that close. Mike’s different. He did what he wanted to do. He didn’t need no help.”George Gervin, ThePostGame
22-year-old Jordan coming off his All-Star Game orchestrated ignominy – I bet he thought he didn’t need help, especially from the guy who outplayed him in front of 43,000 fans in the Hoosierdome and a national television audience. So he went hard at Gervin, turning practices into personal battles with a 14-year NBA veteran.
It was at that time Iceman realized it was time to say goodbye to the NBA basketball. He couldn’t keep up anymore, and the guy who played a key role in helping him comprehend it was Michael Jordan.
“The son of a bitch is crazy. He played just as hard at practice as he did in the game. I’ll never forget it; I’m at practice with him one time, I’m lackadaisical going through it and stuff. I say, ‘Dang, young fella.‘ He said, ‘Hey, old man, go sit down over there.‘ I sat down. I was done. He helped me understand I was done. You’ve only got so long to be on top. I was on top for about 12 years. You only have your turn. My turn was pretty much up. I retired after that.”George Gervin, ThePostGame
Iceman spent several more years playing overseas and was still the walking bucket playing in Italy and Spain, but he never returned to playing NBA basketball. His run with the Bulls ended up being Gervin’s farewell NBA season, and he was at peace with that. Why do I feel like Jordan didn’t cry about it as well?