Michael Jordan may be the greatest basketball player to ever step on the court, but even he can be beaten. Hard to believe for a player that talented, and more important, competitive. But out of all people that could have beaten him, it was a CEO of the name John Rogers Jr.
The place of action was at a Jordan “Flight School” Fantasy Camp for business executives in 2003 after his final retirement. Jordan was regularly playing against anybody that wanted to, and he went unbeaten for eight years. But that was until John Rogers Jr., founder, and CEO of the nation’s largest minority-run mutual fund decided to take on MJ in a game of 1 on 1 to 3.
MJ immediately started with the trash talk, but Rogers didn’t seem fazed. “Don’t be mad at me, I’m just too good,” he booms. “What, you think I had this camp just so you all could beat me?”
Rogers first drove right and scored. Then on his next possession, he went left and scored again. It was 2-0 as the 150 people around them were buzzing. Rogers missed his first game-winning attempt, and Jordan took the ball. From that point, he got serious and tied at 2-2 with two jumpers.
Everybody thought it was over. But then Jordan missed. Rogers got it again, but he also missed. He surely wouldn’t get a third chance, but Jordan missed once again, and Rogers took advantage. He drove left and hit a hard left-handed layup over MJ. In the moment of the jump, MJ yelled: “Oh no!”, as he lost 3-2.
Jordan wasn’t a sore loser as he hugged Rogers, with which he goes way back, but he still warned him: “Next time we’re on the court together, I’ll show you what it’s like to play in the NBA.”
But the rematch never happened. Rogers used to play as a point guard at Princeton, so it is not like he lost to some scrub, but it was still shocking, as this is the only living proof of somebody beating Michael 1 on 1.
P.S. We can’t be sure it was premeditated, but Rodgers was wearing Adidas sneakers in the camp, something MJ noticed. If he did it on purpose to annoy MJ, that’s a black belt in MJ school of mind games.