When Michael Jordan gives you a nickname, you wear it -- forever.
For Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, he has the honor of being able to say just that.
David Maley, Sharks analyst and former NHL player himself, told San Jose Hockey Now’s Ryan Cowley a story of how the NBA legend has an alias for Wilson, one that was revealed during one of MJ's famous games.
Maley, Wilson, who was a Sharks captain at the time, and former Sharks right wing Pat Falloon all went to a Chicago Bulls game vs. the then-Washington Bullets in 1993 -- which happened to be Jordan's infamous "LaBradford Smith Game."
Wilson played in 14 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, so he was familiar with the Bulls. The Bulls’ public relations guy told the trio “Michael’s going to be on fire. Just watch him.”
Naturally, he was. MJ and the Bulls put a beating on Smith and the Bullets. The game prior, Smith had a solid game against MJ (37 points), and as immortalized in Netflix's "The Last Dance," MJ swore he'd get his revenge.
Jordan finished that game with 47 points and eight rebounds, including 36 in the first half.
“It was an unbelievable game,” Maley told Cowley. “We sat right behind the bench and I think late in the third quarter, they took him out of the game and, as he comes out of the game, he’s walking down sweating like crazy, and he sees Doug Wilson -- and me and Patty Falloon are in awe -- and he yells, ‘Hey, Willie! What’s going on?’ He leans over to give [Wilson] a high-five and says, ‘Talk to you after the game,’ and me and Patty Falloon were like two little kids.”
Haley explained how the guys waited until an hour after the game (would have waited longer, I'm sure) and were able to access the Bulls' locker room which coincidentally is where the Sharks would play their own game the next night. It was only Jordan sitting there -- the three guys shook his hand.
“And after he says, ‘What’s up, Willie,’ the first thing he says is, ‘Man, you guys aren’t doing too good.’ I was, like, ‘Michael Jordan knows what we’re doing?," Haley told Cowley.
Of course, MJ was right. The Sharks were near the end of their dubious 11-71-2 season, where they set the NHL record for losses.
But in this moment, that didn't matter. Maley, Wilson and Falloon joked they never would wash their hands again.