Kings

Michael Jordan's intensity led to 1991 Bulls-Kings Dennis Hopson trade

Kings

Michael Jordan demanded greatness during his NBA career.

If you couldn't handle his style, you couldn't play with him.

As Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said recently, if you could withstand Jordan's wrath, it brought you closer to him. But if not, you were a goner.

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher told an anecdote in a story published over the weekend in which Jordan's intensity in practice could break players.

That's what happened with 1987 No. 3 overall draft pick Dennis Hopson.

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As Bucher tells it, Jordan and Hopson, a shooting guard originally drafted by the New Jersey Nets, constantly were matched up against each other in Chicago Bulls practices prior to the 1991-92 season.

"It ruined Dennis Hopson," former Bulls forward Scott Williams told Bucher. "Every drill, five-on-five, three-on-three, Hopson had to take the abuse of Jordan. It was a mental beatdown. There was one day Hop went back at him and we ended up winning that scrimmage. We picked up Hopson and carried him to the locker room as if we'd just won a championship. But next day, it was more of the same."

 

Two games into the 1991 season, the Bulls traded Hopson to the Kings.

Hopson, 26 at the time, averaged 10.7 points in 69 games for the Kings that year, but it would be the last NBA season of his career.

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Hopson appeared to have a bright future ahead of him. He was an All-American at Ohio State in 1987, and averaged 15.8 points per game in his third NBA season.

But not everyone is cut out to play with the GOAT.