With Michael Jordan, it’s not about gambling per se. It’s about competing. Whether it’s golfing, playing blackjack, or betting on the game of Rock paper scissors, it’s all about coming out on top. Cashing in on it is just the bonus, and Rip Hamilton’s story goes along with that.
This one took place while the two were teammates in Washington, during a regular-season shootaround. To spice it up, Michael and Rip decided to bet on half-court shots. And while Hamilton didn’t go on record about how much money was on the line, he did boast about being the one in the lead, and MJ was having none of that.
Michael was like, ‘No, we ain’t leaving.’ Instead of respecting the authority, he decided to become one, and that left Rip feeling befuddled. “I’m like, okay, Michael, coach Doug Collins, who do I listen to?” Hamilton said. “So I’m looking at Doug, giving him the eye, saying, ‘Doug, it’s time to go.'”
They didn’t go. “We shot for two more hours,” Rip said. “I’ll never forget it because I was like an hour and a half into it, and I’m like, ‘I’m tired, I can’t keep shooting half-court shots.’ But they kept on shooting until Michael got even, and his competitive appetites were satisfied. Hamilton was let off the hook, as they made their way to the team’s bus. They got on it, and Rip looked Doug in the eyes and said ‘Come on, man, you’re supposed to be the coach.’
Had it been anyone else, rest assured coach Collins, a disciplinarian he was, would’ve exercised his powers. But this was Michael Jordan and his competitive spirit that transcends the field of coach’s authority. No rules apply to that.
Doug did the best thing he could’ve done; he let Michael do his thing. And I’m not talking about winning all the money involved. I’m talking about winning. That’s what it’s always been about with Jordan – competition, not gambling per see.