Dan Dakich became a familiar name when he was involved in a messy incident involving pre-NBA Michael Jordan. And by messy, it doesn’t necessarily mean blood and guts were spilled on the hard court. Rather, Dakich vomited hours before he was assigned to guard Jordan. The former Indiana Hoosiers clarified what really happened that day.
Jordan vs Dakich
On March 22, 1984, the North Carolina Tar Heels faced the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers had a colossal task ahead of them as North Carolina was the number one ranked team. Jordan was the head of the pack comprised of future NBA players Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty, and Kenny Smith.
Three hours before the game, Indiana head coach Bob Knight told Dan Dakich — the team’s 6-foot-5 team captain — to guard the shifty and explosive Michael Jordan. Knight reportedly told him: "Just don't let him dunk on you. That will embarrass you and me both.” The myth is that right after Knight uttered those words, Dakich went to his hotel room and vomited. But Dakich himself cleared up the entire rumor. Yes, he did puke all over his hotel room. But it was due to another reason.
“No. Here’s what happened with that. I was sick, and I didn’t want anybody to know, so I was the last guy to leave the meeting. And I’m going up to my hotel room and I’m by myself, just because I wanted everybody to clear the room in case I did throw up. So I go up the elevator, I’m by myself, I get off on my floor, and I open up my door to the room and I get sick. It just hit me. I threw up on the floor of the hotel."
Dan Dakich, Grantland
"And I didn’t want my roommate, Mike Giomi, to see it, because I was supposed to be a tough guy, the leader and all that stuff. And hell, if your leader’s puking on the floor, that’s not good. So I cleaned up real quick and it became a story that I threw up because of Jordan. I was just sick, and like a dummy I tried to eat my way out of being sick. I thought, 'Man, if I eat I’ll be all right.' So I had a pregame meal. I had spaghetti, hamburgers, eggs, toast, and it all came back up right then and there. That was three hours before the game,” Dakich said, per Grantland.
It all makes sense. Knight is a legendary coach and he wouldn’t have assigned a noob with a weak stomach to defend Jordan. He needed a tough son of a gun like Dakich. It was just unfortunate that of all the days in a year, he was of ill health on the day he faced the young GOAT.
Shutting Jordan down
History has been rough on Dakich. When someone utters the syllables of his name, they are reminded of that story: that he vomited all over his hotel upon learning he was about to match up against Michael Jordan.
But during the game, Dakich accomplished his task of shutting Jordan down. He limited His Airness to just 13 points. It was partly due to Dakich’s fearlessness and Jordan’s own doing, as he was mostly on the bench due to foul trouble. Dakich fouled out, too, which is a testament to how physical he was during the entire game. The best part was that the Hoosiers won, 72-68. This is the story that should be attached to Dakich’s name.