There’s no crying in basketball. Okay wrong sport, but apparently Michael Jordan didn’t get the memo that says professional sports athletes shouldn’t cry.
According to Jordan’s former college basketball and Olympic teammate Sam Perkins, the greatest of all-time was once forced to tears by none other than Bobby Knight himself. Nope, no crying Jordan meme here.
It’s a long story. One that should be told. It tells us about a young player in Jordan that was disappointed he let his team down.
It tells us about a former Army head basketball coach that used a drill instructor mentality to keep his players in line.
According to Perkins, here’s how it all went down.
“Bobby Knight, he got after us,” Perkins said on SiriusXM NBA Radio recently. “One story real quick. He told Michael that’s the worst he ever played. Now, Michael’s going to deny this but he cried, he cried after the game because of the fact that Bobby Knight told him, ‘You should apologize to everybody in here.’ … Leon Wood was his boy at the time so Leon Wood went over there to pat him on his back and say, ‘It’ll be alright, it’ll be alright.’ But the thing about it, Bobby Knight was just trying to instill some, you know, even though we didn’t play that bad, it’s the fact that he just wanted us to wake up for the next game because anything could happen. But that’s the way Bobby Knight coached.”
This specific incident happened during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Led by then Indiana head coach Bobby Knight, Team USA would go on to win the gold medal against Spain.
Apparently Knight was attempting to instill some tough love into Jordan during a 78-67 win over West Germany in the quarterfinals.
The United States would then go on to win the next two games to bring home gold with Jordan leading an ultra-talented team in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
Perkins indicated that Jordan would never admit to crying. However, if true, it would lend even more credence to the idea that the great No. 23 always found a way to step up when people questioned him.
As you already know, Jordan would go on to win six NBA titles during what has to be considered the greatest career in Association history.
And while famous in his own right, Knight himself is known more for his anger than what was a tremendously successful coaching career.