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Doug Collins shares his regret on Michael Jordan “I wish I was the one who saw his potential”


Michael Jordan came into the NBA with a bang. Right from the get-go, the North Carolina product was dropping 30 points with ease, dunking over his foes, and showing off his Airness. Amid all the basketball feats he did in the first few years of his career, there were some doubts if Jordan was indeed the real deal. After all, the real measure of greatness is if a player can lead his team to an NBA championship.

It took Jordan seven years before snagging his first NBA title. In those seven long years, critics tagged him as a ball-hog — someone who only cares about his own accolades. Doug Collins, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1986 to 1989, was likely blinded by these criticisms hurled at Jordan. So much so that Collins wished he could have spotted Jordan's searing talent then, looking back at it today.

“I wish I would have known when I taken the job how good Michael really was going to be. I mean, Michael had just come off the playoffs where he had had a broken foot. During the year he had missed, I think all but 18 games. He then came back in the playoffs. And I mean the show he put on in Boston garden against the Celtics. I think Larry Bird had a comment one time he said the guy who I just played against god or somebody who was disguising himself as Michael Jordan.”

Doug Collins, 94WIP

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Collins was referring to Jordan's epic 63-point game against a powerhouse Boston Celtics squad led by Larry Bird. The Celtics were the head honchos of the NBA back then. Suddenly, here comes this second-year stud, who missed most of the season due to broken foot, dropping a 63-piece on all of them. Yes, the Bulls lost 3-0 to the eventual champs. But that game established Jordan as a force to be reckoned with.

Collins' regret is understandable. He was fired in the summer of 1989 and was replaced by his assistant coach, Phil Jackson. In his first year as coach, Jackson led the Bulls to the Conference Finals. In the following season, Jordan won his first NBA title. 

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