Richard 'Rip' Hamilton was teammates with Michael Jordan on the 2001-02 Wizards. Then only 23, Hamilton was a full 15 years younger than Jordan and had come up watching His Airness.
Recalling his time as Jordan's teammate on ESPN's the Jump, Hamilton and host Rachel Nichols remembered MJ as ornery in his later days.
Hamilton explained that Jordan could be kind, and tutored him on his mid-range pull up shot. But on the flip side was "the talking trash Michael Jordan."
And at times me and a couple of the young guys would come up to him and say, 'Hey Mike, what do you think about putting us in the brand Jordan collection?' And he'd look at me and say, 'Hey Rip, my sneaker's for All-Stars.' And at that time I'm like wow, really?
And then my other young fella – I don't want to say his name – he'd say, 'Hey Mike, what about me? Put me in your sneaker.' And he'd say, 'Your game is not to my liking, for my sneaker. ... Not good enough for my sneaker.
And how did this impact 23-year-old Hamilton, who admitted to idolizing Jordan? He gave himself a little pep talk about the moment and used it as motivation.
I went home, I looked myself in the mirror and I said, 'Rip, you're going to be alright.' I'm going to come back to MJ. And I did after I made the All-Star team. I came back to him and I said, 'Hey M, now I'm an All-Star. Now you gotta put me in that sneaker.'
Good for you, Rip! For those unfamiliar with his résumé, Hamilton went on to three All-Star games and won the 2004 NBA Championship with the Detroit Pistons. Not too shabby.
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