Michael Jordan's competitiveness certainly doesn't need any introduction. Simply put, whenever someone ticked him off, MJ let them have it. But what most of us didn't know was that the notable Jordan trait applied to everybody, even to his best friend and longtime personal assistant, George Koehler.
A special bond
Jordan and Koehler's lasting friendship began during the former Chicago Bulls superstar's rookie season in the NBA. Koehler used to drive MJ around Chicago and later became one of the trusted persons in Jordan's circle. Over time, Koehler earned several titles, but he's most notably known as Jordan's best friend.
"Michael's told people I'm his best friend in Chicago, which would be an honor, of course," Koehler told Chicago Tribune in 1992. "Otherwise, you can refer to me as Michael's personal assistant. Or just think of me as his gofer. Doesn't bother me."
MJ knows no best friends on the court
Judging by how Koehler looked with Jordan in photos, it's safe to say he wasn't a little guy. Koehler said he wasn't an athlete, but he "played and coached some basketball" in his younger years. But even if he was a tremendous athlete or basketball player, we all know Koehler would be no match against MJ in a one-on-one game.
Needless to say, Koehler was also well aware of it. So, when Jordan's leg was immobilized for months due to an injury, George thought it would be a walk in the park to play a one-on-one game with a "cripple." Koehler forgot that the cripple he was referring to was Jordan, arguably the fiercest competitor on Earth and the greatest basketball player of all time, and he was reminded the hard way.
"I'm the typical white guy," Koehler explained. "Can shoot, can't jump, not very quick. But his leg has been immobilized for months. It's the size of my arm. So I figure I'm playing a cripple. I go up 6-3 or 7-3, and Michael says, 'OK, that's it.' He wins 21-9. The all-time competitor, Michael is."
Koehler continued and pointed out that behind Jordan's extreme competitiveness and all the accolades, a normal human being still lays, concluding, "But he's a real person who gets hurt. He never asked for the pedestal, then people put him there and try to knock him off."
Over time, Koehler indeed learned the “dos and don’ts” of interactions with Jordan. And on the top of that list is never to underestimate MJ, injured or not.