Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the best player to ever play the game of basketball.
He dominated in his career with the Chicago Bulls, helping the team win six NBA titles during a dominant run in the ’90s. But before Jordan took over the NBA, the league belonged to other stars including Magic Johnson.
Jordan eventually stole the title of best player in the league and before that happened, a special pay-per-view game between Jordan and Johnson almost happened. The winner of the game would have received $1 million.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Adams wrote a piece on how the one-on-one game almost happened.
“There was a lot of talk about it, and both players seemed to be real interested,” recalled Rod Thorn, who drafted Jordan as Chicago’s general manager before becoming the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations. “Magic wouldn’t have been able to stop him.”…
Jordan against Johnson, though, was the best of the NBA’s best pitted singularly against each other. And several major media outlets had reported this sure bet as all but a done deal. At the very least, the two stars had been approached and the game’s payout had been negotiated. Both were intrigued, with Jordan even teasing the matchup on ESPN after the All-Star break”
So why didn’t it happen? Well the NBA hated the idea of its two superstars playing a game on pay-per-view for a gambling event.
“Jordan himself was also one of the big reasons there was a hangup. He explained to his agent David Falk the reasoning behind not wanting to do it.
Falk recalls Jordan saying: “If I win, people will say, ‘So, what do you expect? That’s what Michael is—he’s a one-on-one player.’ And if I lose, then I don’t have the rings or the title. So what’s the point of doing it?”
He talks about it in this video that aired during a Lakers pre game show. The interview starts at 1:30:
Johnson eventually passed the torch to Jordan, most notably during the 1992 Dream Team run in Barcelona when he told Jordan that the NBA was his now.
Jordan won six rings in his career including two three-peats for the Bulls. But one has to wonder how much fun it would have been to see Johnson and Jordan go one-on-one.
Now how about we bring up the idea to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?