- Pink-haired USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and WNBA icon Sue Bird – who have been in a relationship since 2016 – have been hosting an Instagram Live series through quarantine called “A Touch More.”
- This week, the couple had Diana Taurasi – arguably the greatest WNBA player of all time – and her wife, fellow WNBA great Penny Taylor, as guests on the show.
- Bird asked her longtime Team USA teammate to share her favourite Michael Jordan story, and Taurasi recalled missing a free throw for a pair of Jordans at the Chicago Bulls legend’s basketball camp.
- Taurasi – who is widely considered the greatest WNBA player of all time – assumed Jordan would give her the sneakers anyway, but he said “nice try” and then teased her about the miss a full year later.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Few basketball players in the history of the sport are regarded as highly as Diana Taurasi, but one of her fellow all-time greats knows how to get in her head.
Michael Jordan once trolled the Phoenix Mercury guard and all-time WNBA leading scorer for missing a free throw at his summer camp.
In a conversation with longtime USA Basketball teammate Sue Bird and USWNT star Megan Rapinoe on their weekly Instagram Live series “A Touch More,” Taurasi launched into the full story after her former UConn co-star asked for her favourite personal experience with Jordan.
In 1999, Taurasi attended Jordan’s Santa Barbara, California, “fantasy camp” as a camper. She had been the high school player of the year and already had some respect attached to her name on the basketball court at the time. Taurasi recalled that, on the last day of the camp, everyone played H-O-R-S-E, and she was selected to participate.
“It’s an ‘around the world,’ 10 spots, you gotta make 10 in a row and make a free throw and you win a free pair of Jordans,” Taurasi said. “It’s not like now where I feel like they just hand out sneakers to these kids.”
She remembered knocking down shots from nearly every spot on the court, including multiple three-pointers. But once when it came time to line up for a routine free throw, she missed.
“Clank,” Taurasi said, to Bird’s and Rapinoe’s amusement. “I missed a damn free throw for a free pair of Jordans.”
The then-teenage Taurasi assumed Jordan would give her the shoes anyway so as not to “be a jerk,” as Rapinoe said, but the incredibly competitive – and often ruthless – Chicago Bulls superstar and six-time NBA champion had other ideas.
“He goes ‘Uh, nice try’ and didn’t even break a smile,” Taurasi said. “‘Nice try. Next.'”
“I was like ‘Damn, I don’t even get the shoes?'” she added.
The following year, which was the summer after her freshman season at UConn, Taurasi returned to the camp as a counselor.
“He comes up to me and I’m like ‘Hey Mike, how are you?'” Taurasi recalled. “He goes ‘How’re your free throws doing?’ and I’m just like ‘This dude doesn’t let go of anything.'”
“This was a year later,” she added, exasperated.
Check out the full clip below:
Fans of Bird’s and Rapinoe’s Saturday night Instagram Live show can buy “A Touch More” T-shirts and hoodies – the proceeds from which provide meals to kids and families in need via Hunger: Not Impossible – on Represent.com.
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- Floyd Mayweather once threatened to buy Diana Taurasi’s team when she trash-talked him during a game, and it was ‘the one time she’s ever been silenced’
- Coverage of the NFL Draft stands in stark contrast to that of the WNBA last week. A tweet about the first sporting event in ‘forever’ led fans’ anger to boil over.
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