124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

This story about Michael Jordan depriving Horace Grant of food after bad games gives new meaning to "Be Like Mike"


The year is 2020. Michael Jordan has been retired for over a decade and a half. We've seen three presidents, a couple of wars, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the birth and death, at least culturally speaking, of something called Facebook since MJ hung up the AJs. The world has changed, but one thing hasn't: Everyone, at least in the wake of 'The Last Dance', still wants to "Be Like Mike." The question, though, in today's day and age, knowing all we know, hindsight being 20/20 and all, is SHOULD we?

Well, if this story from longtime NBA writer and Jordan insider Sam Smith about how #23 used to treat teammates, namely Horace Grant, after bad games is true, the answer is almost definitely not. Here's what Smith told the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Podcast this week:

"Players would come to me over the years and said, ‘You know what he did? He took Horace [Grant’s] food away on the plane because Horace had a bad game,’” Smith told the hosts. “[Michael] told the stewardesses ‘Don’t feed him, he doesn’t deserve to eat.’

“They would tell me stuff like that and they they’d say ‘Why don’t you write this?’ And I would say ‘Well I can’t write it unless you say it.’ I don’t do ‘league sources.’ You can’t do that kind of stuff on these kind of things. ‘If you want to be quoted I’ve got no problem with that.’ ‘No, no, no we can’t say that about Michael Jordan.’"

Call me a snowflake, but a grown man can choose where, when, and what he eats, regardless of his performance at the office that day. It may shock you to hear this, but there are more important things than basketball, one which is FREAKING EATING.

In Jordan's defense though, he will be the first guy to tell you that he never tried to be a role model. He literally said it in episode five of 'The Last Dance,' in reference to the infamous "Republican buy Nikes too" comment. "It's never going to be enough for everybody. I know that. I realize that . . ." he says toward the episode's conclusion. "The way that I go about my life, is that I set examples. If that inspires you, great. You know, I will continue to do that. If it doesn't, maybe I'm not the person you should be following."

Fair enough. Personally, the whole "starving a co-worker as punishment for a typo in an email" thing isn't really moving the motivational needle for me, but to each their own.