The sixth episode of “The Last Dance” — ESPN’s 10-part docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls — focused in part on His Airness’ gambling “hobby.”
Charles Barkley, an NBA great in his own right and a member of the “Dream Team” that won gold at the 1992 Olympics, said he, Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Magic Johnson played cards “every single night.”
“We knew that no matter what the cards were, at the end of the night … Michael was always going to try to buy the pot,” Barkley told Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter after the episode aired Sunday night.
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Michael Jordan is a fierce competitor on and off the court.
The sixth episode of “The Last Dance” — ESPN’s 10-part docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls — focused in part on His Airness’ infamous gambling “hobby,” which Jordan called a “competition problem” during Sunday night’s airing.
AP Photo/John Swart
After the show, Charles Barkley, an NBA great in his own right, shared a humorous anecdote about his days gambling with Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Scottie Pippen during the 1992 Olympics as members of the “Dream Team.”
“Every night — not one night, not two nights, not 10 nights — me, Magic, Scottie, and [Michael Jordan] played cards every single night,” Barkley told Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter. “Michael tried to buy the pot every single night. It was really awesome.”
Barkley said that he and Pippen didn’t have the same amount of money to pour into poker as Jordan and Johnson did, and the latter duo would take advantage of that.
“Me and Scottie don’t have as much money as Michael and Magic but we knew that no matter what the cards were, at the end of the night like three or four times a night Michael was always going to try to buy the pot,” Barkley said. “And just like [Jordan] always says, ‘What’s your breaking point of going all in?'”
Johnson apparently looked to outbid his opponents, too.
“[Jordan] and Magic are on a whole different level than me and Scottie, but they tried to buy the pot every single night,” Barkley added. “It was awesome and hilarious.”
Whether he’s playing golf with Danny Ainge and dropping 63 revenge points in the playoffs the next day or playing quarters with security guards at the United Center, Jordan is all-or-nothing in nearly every aspect of his life. Poker was no exception, and Barkley said you had to match Jordan’s intensity if you had any prayer of beating him.
“You have to have 100% confidence in your hand if you’re going to go all-in against Michael, because he’s going to be doubling down, doubling down,” Barkley said. “If you have a good hand, you have to go all-in. You gotta do it.”
Check out the SportsCenter clip below:
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