Skip to main content

"It's remarkable how scared Michael seemed" - Michael Jordan's best friend describes his early days in the NBA

As per Koehler, Jordan did not strike him as a flamboyant NBA star; instead, he saw a young man seemingly unaware of what lies ahead of him in The Windy City.

We all know Michael Jordan wasn't the most intimidating player in the NBA, but undeniably, he instilled fear in his rivals by dismantling them with his game. However, some may not know, but the fierce competitor and fearless MJ we adored with the Chicago Bulls was also once a fish out of the water. That's according to his best friend and personal assistant, George Koehler.

Mike was scared

In an exclusive interview with Chicago Tribune in 1992, Koehler said Jordan wasn't the face of the NBA yet when they first met. At the time, Koehler was driving for Prestige Limo services in Chicago and was one day tasked to take a young man from North Carolina University to his "first training camp" with the Bulls. Little did Koehler know that man was Michael Jordan, the then-NBA rookie destined to become the greatest player of all time.

As per Koehler, Jordan did not strike him as a flamboyant NBA star; instead, he saw a young man seemingly unaware of what lies ahead of him in The Windy City.

"I'm three weeks into this venture, trying to make ends meet, so I offered to take him anywhere for $25," Koehler said of Jordan. "He had to go to the Bulls` hotel on the North Shore for his first training camp. He said, 'Let's go.' As I look back, it's remarkable how scared Michael seemed. Just a kid out of college, in a big city where he knew nobody, and the Bulls didn't even send a car for him. I was scared, too, though. Prestige Limo wasn't exactly sure how to find that hotel."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

A lasting friendship

After that ride, Jordan and Koehler became friends. Over time, Koehler said that "pretty soon, I was taking Michael here and there for whatever he had to do. Personal appearances, golf, O'Hare."

Jordan's relationship with Koehler deepens as he becomes a household name in the sport. After several years of being one of the few people in MJ's inner circle, Koehler also forged a beautiful relationship with the Jordan family.

"Michael, his wife Juanita, his mom and dad, Dolores and James, make me feel like part of the family. They trust me. I think I know enough to give Michael the space he needs but doesn't get enough of, and we have a lot of laughs."

Jordan and Koehler's story only proves that "His Airness" really picks the people he trusts. Fortunately for Koehler, he became one of them, returning the favor to MJ with his genuine loyalty.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives