Charles Barkley adds the latest legendary golf story to Michael Jordan's resume on 'Coffee with Cal'
There's no shortage of legendary Michael Jordan stories making the rounds as "The Last Dance" continues to capture America's attention, nor should there be. Not surprisingly, our favorite MJ stories involve golf, and just when you think you've heard them all, Charles Barkley tells another that could be in the conversation for "Mount Rushmore of MJ golf stories," a thing we just made up.
The Chuckster told the tale on "Coffee with Cal," a virtual interview show with University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, created specifically for these crazy quarantine times. Prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Barkley, Jordan and the rest of the "Dream Team" first had to play in the Tournament of the Americas, a qualifying tournament in Portland consisting of 10 teams competing for four spots allocated for the Americas (North and South, the Caribbean and Central America) in the Summer Games. It was essentially a tuneup for Team USA, which won all four of its Group stage games by over 40 points, then beat Puerto Rico by 38 in the semifinals of the knockout round and Venezuela by 47 in the final game.
The morning of the Puerto Rico game, Jordan, Barkley, David Robinson and head coach Chuck Daly went out for a round of golf. We'll let Barkley take it from there.
"So we go play, we play 18, and Chuck [Daly] says 'ok, that was a great time,' and Michael says, 'nah, I'm going to play another 18.' I'm like Michael, we got a game tonight. He says Chuck, I'll be fine, blah blah blah.
"So Michael comes back after playing another 18. We're getting ready for the game and Chuck says 'Charles, you got this guy. Scottie [Pippen] you got this guy, and then Michael says, 'Nah, I got him.' It was the point guard from Puerto Rico, and Chuck says, 'well, he's the point guard Michael.' Michael looks at him and says 'I said I got him. I read something he said about me in the newspaper, and I got him.' And the whole room's like, dude you just played 36 holes of golf and you're going to guard the point guard? Michael would not let this little dude dribble. He had played 36 holes and he's talking to the guy the whole time like 'hey, don't you ever talk about me publicly again. I'm Michael Jordan, don't you ever talk about me."
Jordan playing 36 holes is nothing new, even on game days, whether it was during the NBA regular season or during the Olympics. But the stories of what he goes on to do in a game later that night will never not be insane to hear (just ask NHL legend Jeremy Roenick). Somehow he found the time to A. get two rounds in, B. keep up with the news and read any smack talk about him before smartphones existed and C. get ready to play in a professional basketball game. It's almost impossible to fathom. LeBron could NEVER! Just kidding, we're not having that debate.
Barkley's full interview with Cal, which includes a few shots at Draymond Green, is well worth the full watch. The most shocking part is Chuck talking about how Bob Knight left him off the 1984 Olympic team. Who the hell leaves Charles Barkley off any basketball team, ever? I realize this is an extremely strong roster, but they had no room for the fifth overall pick? Wild. I'd say it was a tough look for Knight, but that was also the same summer he said Jordan was the best basketball player he'd ever seen. Seems like he was on to something.