Early Saturday morning, news broke that country music icon Kenny Rogers died of natural causes at the age of 81.

An outpouring of love and appreciation ensued on social media for Rogers, his music and his life. But perhaps no reminiscence was as whimsical as this:

Yes, that's Rogers going toe-to-toe with Michael Jordan in a charity basketball game. At one point, Rogers pump-faked MJ out of his shoes (as Chick Hearn puts it, “he put him in the popcorn machine!") before canning a shotput 3-pointer. Legendary stuff.

The setting: Kenny Rogers' Classic Weekend, a three-day fundraising event in Rogers’ home state of Georgia, which aired on television in 1988. Also prominently featured in the above clip are Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins.

Jordan got his comeuppance, of course, with a vicious blocked shot and a series of acrobatic layups later in the game, passionately fist-pumping all the way. Even in a charity exhibition, he brought the edge.

It's a fitting memory to rehash on a sad day. Rest in power to The Gambler.


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