The Loop

According to Jeremy Roenick, Michael Jordan once dropped 52 after slamming 10 beers and playing 36 holes

November 11, 2019

Stan Badz

Nothing gives sports fans greater pleasure than screaming at their friends and family about who deserves to be crowned the one true GOAT. In the NFL, the debate has fizzled as Tom Brady's Lombardi Trophies have piled up, but over in the NBA, the hot take furnace is still burning strong. Driven partly by First Take's insatiable need to never stop shouting, the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James civil war has raged on unabated for generations, pitting neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. Thanks to Jeremy Roenick, however, for the first time in years there is hope, because if the Jordan story he told 670 the Score last week is indeed true, then the GOAT debate is over...forever.

Transcript below:

This was like end of the season for us, end of the season for them. I get a call from Michael, ‘meet me at Sunset Ridge early, we’re going to go play 18 holes.’ We didn’t have a game, we actually had a day off. So I meet him at Sunset Ridge… we played a round, beat him for a couple thousand, and I’m getting ready to leave. Now, the Bulls are playing that night. They play Cleveland, that night. So I’m thinking he’s leaving, it’s 10:00, he’s like ‘no, let’s go play again.’

So we fill up a bag full of ice and Coors Light and we walk again. We roll around another 18 and I take him for another couple. We’ve been drinking all afternoon. Now he’s going from Sunset Ridge to the stadium to play a game.

And I’m like messing around, I’m like ‘I’m going to call my bookie, all the money you just lost to me I’m putting on Cleveland tonight.’

He goes ‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll bet you that we win by 20 points and I have more than 40.’ I’m like ‘done.’

Son of a gun goes out, scores 52 and they win by 26 or something… after [36] holes of golf and having maybe 10 Bud Lights. The man, to me, is the best athlete that I’ve ever seen.

There are some inconsistencies in Roenick's story, of course. One moment they're filling the cooler up with Coors Light, the next they're throwing down Buds. According to Roenick, Jordan went on to drop 52, winning by 26, but as For the Win astutely points out, the game in question was likely the March 28th, 1992 tilt between the Cavs and Bulls, when Jordan put up 44 to help the Bulls win by 24—numbers that are suspiciously close to Jordan's proposed bet of scoring "more than 40" and winning "by 20."

But even if the details are a little foggy (slamming beers all day in the sun has a habit of doing that to the ol' black box), the soul of the story remains: Jordan, especially when compared to a guy who hasn't put anything worse than a taco in his body in 15 years, was better half in the bag, dreaming about golf than the modern NBA's most focused, best-hydrated superstars could ever hope to be. Add this to the scrapbook alongside the "Flu Game," the baseball sabbatical, and about 100 other Jordan legends that seem almost too incredible to believe, and one thing becomes clear:

The GOAT debate is dead, long live the GOAT debate.