The name Ed Pinckney probably doesn’t mean anything to the majority of NBA fans, especially the younger ones, but he had a solid 11-year-long career. On top of that, Pinckney was in the same generation as Michael Jordan, and they were teammates during the tryouts for Team USA in 1984 that consisted of the best college players.
Pinckney shared a story about young Jordan already showcasing he is far superior to everyone else at the 1984 USA Men’s basketball exhibition tour. Pinckney remembers how that tour basically served Bobby Knight and his coaching staff to see the best talent in one place and decide which players can potentially represent the country at the Olympic games in Los Angeles. Pinckney got the opportunity to team up with Jordan during those scrimmages under Bobby Knight’s strict supervision.
There must have been a hundred guys trying out for this team,” “and they split us all up. I will never forget how he played during those tryouts. They split us up into groups of four. I was on his team. Bobby Knight was on his scaffold in the middle of the court, and he would overlook all the courts.Ed Pinckney, via Michael Jordan : The Life
It didn’t take long for Jordan to make his presence felt on the court, absolutely annihilating every defender that was supposed to cover him. Pinckney remembers he never saw something like that ever in his career, and with Jordan on his team, they never lost a game. On top of that, because the games were played until the first team reached 7 points, Jordan scored every basket if necessary.
With Michael on our team, we did not lose a game. It was ridiculous. You played each game to seven. They had this clock, and you played until seven or until the clock sounded off. The process was to maximize competition, but Jordan minimized it. We’d go to one court, and we’d beat a team seven to nothing. He’d score every basket. We’d go to the next court and win seven to three, and he’d score five in a row. Maybe somebody else got a lay-up or something. It was a joke. That’s when I said to myself, ‘He’s out of control, he’s so good.Ed Pinckney, via Michael Jordan : The Life
Team USA won the gold at the Olympics in Los Angeles, winning all 8 games, and it was Jordan who led the way in scoring, averaging 17 points per game while locking down the best guards on the opposing teams. That tournament was somewhat a welcome out party for Jordan, who showed he is the best player on the international scene as well. Soon after, Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls, and the rest is history. However, that tournament was a perfect showcase of what type of player Jordan truly was already at the age of 21, and he was like that throughout his entire NBA career.