Jamal Crawford on pickup games with MJ: “We never lost in two years and we played against everybody”.

After playing 18 years in the NBA, Jamal Crawford is still without a team in hopes of getting signed late by a championship-contending team. He changed several teams during his long career, but his start was in Chicago shortly after Michael Jordan retired for the second time from the NBA.

Before being drafted by the Chicago Bulls, Crawford was recognized as a very talented upcoming guard, and it was MJ who noticed the potential in Crawford. It was Jamal’s dad found out MJ was interested in seeing his son play ball before getting drafted by the Bulls.

It was unbelievable because the first morning my dad told me during the draft process. He was like, “Michael Jordan likes your game”. This was before social media. I’m like, “dad there’s like no way you could notice. It’s like what is the chance of my dad even knowing something about Michael Jordan.

When Jamal met Jordan, he immediately saw that apart from being incredibly talented, Jordan was even in his 40’s a hard worker who started his workout routines at 6:00 a.m.

“So anyway fast forward to my rookie year, Tim Grover calls me at like 6:30 in the morning. He’s like, “Hey MJ said you can meet him,” and I’m like what, okay? This is when he was kind of prepping the year before he came back to the Wizards so it was a year before he actually came back. So I drove down to the gym, and I get there at seven o’clock. It’s just him and MJ in there. MJ has been there since 6:00 a.m. and he was doing his defensive slide drills by himself. He was 40 years old so instantly the work ethic stuck with me. I’m like okay it’s no accident why he is who he is.”

Crawford and Jordan developed a relationship afterward and played in several pickup games together. According to Crawford, they never lost a game in two years that they played together.

Just having that conversation to us building our relationship to getting to the point where we played pick up for two years. He wouldn’t play a pickup game until I got there because I would help the Bulls and had to drive down there, and he wouldn’t play until I got there. We never lost in two years, and we played against everybody.

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