Michael Jordan was feared league-wide during his time in the NBA. Ever since the Bulls drafted him in ’84, until his retirement in Washington in ’03 — he would literally make players cry.
Jordan’s victims were often his teammates, who he used to push to their absolute limits and was often too hard on them during the process. If they couldn’t handle the pressure in practice, he certainly didn’t want them around when real in-game pressure comes about.
We’ve seen Jordan break down and cry on several occasions. Reasons varied. From pure happiness after winning NBA championships, to utter grief following the murder of his father. Probably the most famous time MJ cried was during his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech in 2009.
However, during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, one man actually made Jordan cry. This ‘villain’ was none other than Team USA’s famed coach Bobby Knight. Knight was well known for his aggressive coaching style at Indiana, and most people were used to his frequent emotional outbursts towards referees and players.
According to Sam Perkins, Jordan’s Tar Heel, and USA basketball teammate — Bobby Knight’s intense coaching style did, in fact, make Michael cry. Here’s how it happened.
During the game against Germany, Team USA played its worst game. They still won, but only by eleven points and MJ had a relatively bad game considering his caliber, he recorded 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 turnovers. Coach Knight went after him!
They made it more of a game than we thought it would be. Bobby Knight, he got after us. One story real quick: He told Michael that’s the worst he ever played.Sam Perkins, Sirius XM NBA radio
Bobby Knight told him, ‘You should apologize to everybody in here.’ I waited for the apology because I thought he was going to actually do it. But he actually cried.Sam Perkins, Sirius XM NBA radio
We didn’t play that bad it’s the fact that [Knight] just wanted us to wake up for the next game because anything could happen, that’s the way Bobby Knight coached.Sam Perkins, Sirius XM NBA radio
Turns out Air Jordan is human after all. Team USA ended up winning gold, and MJ made sure he dominated all of his opponents following the incident with Knight.