- Early in his career, Michael Jordan entered his opponents’ locker room and warned them that it would be “a long f—ing night” before posting a standout performance.
- His Airness went on to score 61 points in that April 1987 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, tying a then-career-high on 22-of-38 shooting from the floor.
- Jordan’s longtime rival, Dominique Wilkins, recently recounted the story to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon and added that Jordan “was something else, something else, man.”
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New stories of Michael Jordan’s intense competitiveness and antics throughout his esteemed playing career have entered into the spotlight with the growing hype surrounding ESPN’s upcoming docuseries “The Last Dance.”
And every player seems to have another great tale about the six-time NBA champion – including Dominique Wilkins, one of his most prominent rivals.
As detailed in Joe Vardon’s recent piece for The Athletic, Wilkins recalled that Jordan once had the audacity to enter his opponents’ locker room and warn them that it would be “a long f—— night” before posting a standout performance early in his career.
“I remember him walking into our locker room in Chicago, and he walked right by me,” Wilkins told Vardon. “And I’m like, what the hell is he coming in our locker room for? And he walked by me, walked by Kevin [Willis], and he tapped Randy Wittman on the leg, and he said, ‘Lace ’em up, it’s gonna be a long f—ing night.’ And he walked out.”
Jordan went on to score 61 points in that April 1987 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, tying a then-career-high on 22-of-38 shooting from the floor. His pre-game declaration was all the more impressive given that, back then, he was nowhere close to being considered an NBA legend, the likes of which he has since become. At the time, Jordan had just two NBA All-Star appearances and not a single championship or MVP award to his name.
He would later go on to earn 12 more All-Star nods in addition to five MVP awards and six championship rings – each of which came with a Finals MVP trophy to go along with it – en route to becoming one of the highest-regarded players in the history of the game.
“He was something else, something else, man,” Wilkins said.
ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series, which focuses on Jordan’s final NBA championship run with the Chicago Bulls over the 1997-1998 season, has come with much fanfare given Jordan’s status as the widely-regarded NBA GOAT and the current lack of live sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. A star-studded cast of characters– including many of Jordan’s contemporaries, teammates, coaches, rivals, and Wilkins himself – sat down for interviews to be featured in the series.
In the United States, ESPN will broadcast two hour-long episodes from the 10-part series each Sunday beginning April 19 at 9 p.m ET.
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