Bulls

Reggie Miller tried to scout Michael Jordan on ‘Space Jam’ set, to no avail

Reggie Miller tried to scout Michael Jordan on ‘Space Jam’ set, to no avail

Michael Jordan famously used the summer of 1995 to both re-mold his body into basketball condition, and film “Space Jam." 

Central to that joint mission was “The Jordan Dome,” a Warner Brothers-constructed basketball training pavilion with amenities only Jordan could dream up. That big, billowing white tent played host to some legendary pickup runs between NBA stars and celebrities, alike, including fierce rivals such as Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers.

“It was some of the best games. No officials. You’re calling your own fouls,” Miller said in “The Last Dance” Episode 8. “So it’s a little bit more rugged and raw.

“I don’t know (how) he (Jordan) did it. I don’t know how he filmed all day and then still had the energy to play three hours. We would play until like 9 or 10 at night. He’d still have to get weight lifting in, and then his call time was like at 6 or 7 in the morning.”

And as impressive as the physical toll of such a schedule was for Jordan, he was putting in mental work, as well. In “The Last Dance,” B.J. Armstrong pointed out that Jordan actually used those games to scout his competition for the upcoming season.

As it turns out, Miller had that same instinct. In an oral history on the “Space Jam” pickup games reported by Alex Squadron of SLAM, Miller is quoted explaining how he tried to use those exhibitions to find cracks in Jordan’s game.

“Mike and I used to do battle and get after one another. I always wanted to be on the opposite team as MJ,” Miller told Squadron. “My whole purpose of going to these games was to try and find a vice I could use if and when we faced each other during the regular season and/or playoffs.”

And… Maybe it worked? To a degree? Two of the Bulls’ 10 regular season losses in the 1995-96 season came at the hands of the Pacers, though Jordan averaged 31.8 points in those contests compared to Miller’s 19.7 (he played in three of the four games and only one of the wins).

Even Miller was quick to dispel the notion that there were any fruits to his scouting.

“Safe to say I never found one (vice),” Miller told Squadron, “because he didn’t have any deficiencies.”

Glad he’s finally come to his senses.

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Report: Jamal Crawford signs with Brooklyn Nets ahead of NBA bubble

Report: Jamal Crawford signs with Brooklyn Nets ahead of NBA bubble

How much help does Caris LeVert need?

Jamal Crawford — automatic bucket, all-time cheat code and pantheon-level problem — has reportedly agreed to a contract with the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the NBA's restart in Orlando. The Athletic's Shams Charania had the scoop:


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Since the news of the season resumption broke, the Nets have had Deandre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince and Wilson Chandler opt out for various reasons. Those decisions, in addition to existing injuries to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Nic Claxton, will leave the East's current No. 7 severely understaffed in Orlando, but Crawford should add a layer of entertainment to their eight seeding games and possible postseason run.

Crawford, after all, famously scored 51 points in his last NBA while with the Phoenix Suns on April 10, 2019. With the performance, he became the oldest player in NBA history to score 50+ in a game (39 years, 20 days), just edging out Michael Jordan (38 years, 315 days). 

He also became the first NBA player to score 50 with four different teams. His first burger came as a member of the Bulls, with whom he spent the first four seasons of his career, on April 11, 2004. Across 19 NBA seasons, Crawford has scored 19,414 points and won three Sixth Man of the Year awards.

"It was disappointing, it was shocking," Crawford said of not being signed for the 2019-20 season when he joined the Bulls Talk Podcast back in April. "My character is solid, I won teammate of the year two years ago. Besides the 50-point game, I had my highest scoring month in April (2019). I averaged 31 points in the month of April off the bench. So I thought without a doubt I showed I could still play, my character is solid, I thought without a doubt (I would get signed)."

Crawford added that even though the pandemic impacted his pickup routine, he had been able to stay in shape via a fitness center he has in his home. He'll be ready for the opportunity.

"Absolutely," he said when asked if he still hoped to find a home in the league. "I'm training as if I'm playing, or I'm going to play. Part of that obviously is for me, because I'm never out of shape, so I love to play anyway. I'll be playing somewhere, whether it's here or LA Fitness, I'll be playing somewhere. But hopefully it's back in the league."

At that point, not even Crawford could have guessed his next organized basketball would come in a Disney World bubble. But here we are. Whatever he does, it will certainly be worth watching.

RELATED: Jamal Crawford recounts how Michael Jordan helped him meet Jay-Z

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Tim Anderson mirrors Michael Jordan ‘Wings’ poster: ‘Make Me Like Mike’

Tim Anderson mirrors Michael Jordan ‘Wings’ poster: ‘Make Me Like Mike’

In the run-up to the 2020 MLB season, the South Siders have all of Chicago buzzing.

And at the forefront of the hype train: star shortstop Tim Anderson.

It makes sense. Never mind Anderson bumping his batting average from .240 to .335 (good enough for the AL batting title) between 2018 and 2019, and cementing himself as a franchise cornerstone. He’s also proven a staple in various communities around the city, and won hearts with the infectious swagger he plays the game with.

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Now, he’s evoking comparison to another Chicago sports icon. Tuesday night, Anderson tweeted a pretty sleek design of him mirroring the famous Michael Jordan ‘Wings’ poster. The caption: ‘Make Me Like Mike.’

 

For comparison:

Courtesy of Amazon

Gary Nolton, the photographer who took the Jordan picture, said in an interview with Highsnobiety that he believed the original photo was taken some time in the summer of 1989, which would have marked the offseason before the Bulls’ final defeat at the hands of the Bad Boy Pistons. The next year, 1991, marked the beginning of the first three-peat. In some ways, that picture symbolizes the precipice of Jordan’s transformation from phenom to legend.

And while no one is expecting a run of the same dynastic proportions as the 1990s Bulls from this iteration of the White Sox, seeing Anderson embrace the city’s sports tradition, and his own potential, is a fun sight for fans of any distinction.

Could the Sox make a run at contention this year? Could Anderson take another leap towards established superstardom? Or will this season mark the South Siders' final tribulation before breaking out of their rebuild, à la the Bulls of yesteryear? 

In an abbreviated campaign flush with unknowable variables, anything certainly seems possible.

RELATED: Tim Anderson leads growing White Sox toward contention: 'He's a man'

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