Michael Jordan once used only three words to remind a former college foe that rivalries never die.
Michael Jordan once used only 3 words to remind a former college foe that rivalries never die. “I’m sorry” was the first word he said, followed by “I love you” and finally “Good game.”
Throughout his illustrious NBA career, Michael Jordan had rivalries with a variety of teams and individuals, and there’s a good chance you’ve heard a lot about each of them.
On the other hand, his collegiate rivals didn’t get nearly as much attention.
Jordan was a great at the University of North Carolina before becoming a Chicago Bulls legend. Because he and the Tar Heels were so successful at that time, natural rivalries arose between him and competing schools/players.
His antipathy for in-state rival North Carolina State, on the other hand, seems to have stayed strong even years afterwards.
During Michael Jordan’s collegiate career, North Carolina and North Carolina State were both successful.
Michael Jordan started his basketball career at North Carolina in 1981-82, when the Tar Heels were one of the finest teams in the nation. They had a deep roster, including James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and, of course, MJ, who helped them finish 32-2 and tie for the ACC regular-season title. UNC then won the ACC Tournament before defeating Georgetown 63-62 in the national championship game.
During Jordan’s sophomore year, North Carolina enjoyed another successful season, tied for the ACC regular-season title for the second year in a row. However, in-state rival NC State defeated them in the ACC tournament quarterfinals that year before going on to win the conference title. NC State, on the other hand, didn’t stop there; the Wolfpack advanced to the national championship game, when they beat Houston 54-52.
In 1983-84, MJ returned to college for one more season, and North Carolina won the league regular-season championship for the second time. The squad, however, fell in the ACC tournament semifinals to Duke before falling in the Sweet 16 to Indiana University.
MJ slammed a former North Carolina State athlete with three words.
On April 4, 2016, Michael Jordan watches the national championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels. | Getty Images/Lance King
Michael Jordan had plenty of reasons to dislike his in-state opponent, given that North Carolina and North Carolina State had won championships in back-to-back seasons and the Tar Heels had fallen to the Wolfpack in the 1983 conference tournament. And a member of one of those teams stated that MJ had a grudge towards the program even after he graduated from college.
Terry Gannon was a member of the NC State basketball team from 1981-82 to 1984-85, thus he was around while Jordan was at UNC. Jordan shouted crap to Gannon years after they both played in the ACC, according to Gannon, who is now a broadcaster.
“I’m heading to my vehicle in the parking lot after leaving a (golf) clubhouse one day after playing, and this car with tinted windows drives up, and the window goes down, and there’s this voice that I hear,” Gannon said on an edition of The Dan Patrick Show in 2019.
So, what was the message from the voice? “NC State sucks,” in three easy terms.
“And then I look up, and it’s Michael, and he raises the window,” Gannon said.
It’s unclear how long after Jordan’s college career this happened (Gannon didn’t mention in the video, although Dan Patrick’s YouTube channel claims it was over 40 years afterwards). MJ’s three remarks, in any case, demonstrated that college rivalries never die.
Michael Jordan was one of college basketball’s finest players of all time.
Michael Jordan was one of the best collegiate basketball players in the nation during the years he challenged Gannon’s NC State teams.
Jordan scored the game-winning shot in the national championship game for the Tar Heels that year after averaging 13.5 points and 4.4 rebounds as a rookie. He subsequently went on to win the AP Player of the Year Award in 1983-84 after garnering consensus All-American accolades in two consecutive seasons.
Jordan averaged 17.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game at UNC, including 20.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his sophomore season.
Defenders had a hard time stopping MJ even when he was a child.
Sure, everyone recognizes His Airness as one of the best NBA players of all time, if not the best, but the 1982 national champion was also one of the best college players ever.
Sports Reference and the ACC provided the statistics.
RELATED: Before even playing one game at UNC, Michael Jordan’s star college teammate said he had a “big mouth.”
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