Michael Jordan famously found motivation in the littlest of things, and whether they were accurate or not. It was part of the secret to his greatness, that he was always driven to get better.
Former NBA player Walt Williams found that out firsthand during Jordan's penultimate season in Chicago. Williams told the story on a recent episode of the 'Wizards Talk' podcast hosted by NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.
"My best story was when I was playing with the Raptors and it was the year after the Bulls were 72-10. They were on-pace to have back-to-back 70-win seasons and ended up with 69. The first time we played against them, it was the first time that I was matched up against Jordan. Normally when playing against the Bulls, I would match up with Scottie [Pippen]. Of course, in transition I might pick up Jordan occasionally. But in this particular game, my match-up was Jordan. My scouting report was just to push him baseline. I had long centers and power forwards like Marcus Camby and Carlos Rogers. So, I pushed him to the baseline so my 6'11" guys could contest the shot," Williams recalled.
"Throughout the game, he would go to the baseline and he would see them coming, so he would stop and pull up and I would contest that. So, to the fans it probably looked like I was guarding him 1-on-1 and I was locking him up. He had about 12 or 13 points that game. We beat them and I had like 25 points. And the media was talking about how good of a job I did defensively and how I was scoring on him. So, a few weeks later we played them in Chicago and once again my coach, Darrell Walker, on the chalkboard he's got me against Jordan. And I'm like 'yeah, I got him.' I had a good game last game, 'I got him.' So, right before tip Jordan looks up at me and he says 'yeah, I remember that trash you was talking last game.' And look, we're all players here so I'm looking at him like 'yeah, let's go.' But inside, to myself, I'm saying 'hey, that was the media! That was the media saying that stuff.' But anyway, nonetheless, he went crazy. He gave me a 40-piece. And I don't think he played in the fourth quarter, that was in three quarters."
Expect a lot of stories like this in the 'Last Dance' documentary set to air on ESPN starting this Sunday. Jordan would do anything to help him win.
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