Video: Michael Jordan playing 9 Hoops II and 9 Hoops Hide – Japanese TV

Just when you thought you’d seen it all. This video clip is incredible, strange and captivating. It was most-likely recorded in 1999; Michael Jordan is listed as 36 years old.

In January of 2000, he became a part-owner of the Washington Wizards and was named President of Basketball Operations. Jordan ultimately sold his ownership stake, so that the team could sign him as a free agent in September, 2001 – clearing the way for his return to the NBA, as a player.

In the above-clip, Jordan’s credentials (to date) are listed on-screen, along with a montage of career highlights. We see a plane landing and are shown signage of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Though I don’t speak a word of Japanese, an incredibly-excitable commentator, lends his talents to proceedings. I assume this program was made for Japanese TV and filmed in L.A? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Jordan is playing a game called 9 Hoops II & 9 Hoops Hide. At first glance, it seems the challenge has been designed by an evil basketball-genius. A competitor has 12 attempts to make nine baskets. At the 9 Hoops II-end of the court, Jordan is confronted by 9 separate basketball hoops – a majority are moving targets; horizontally or vertically. At the 9 Hoops Hide-end of the court, a more devious setup awaits. Three rows of three hoops, strategically-staggered at wildly-varied heights.

The contest is a variation of 9 Hoops; a game that Michael Jordan played – with Charles Barkley, as flashback footage shows – in September of 1996 (part of the Nike Hoop Heroes Tour).

My initial thought was that MJ was simply going through the motions – making his sponsors happy and appeasing those involved. However, as the contest progresses, Jordan is increasingly-challenged to make a wide-array of difficult shots. As he builds towards his final shot on the last hoop, Jordan is dialed-in like he’s back on the Delta Center floor in Utah, for Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. His competitive juices are flowing and his reaction to making the final basket, rivals that of his game-winning buzzer-beaters!

Having watched this amazing clip, there’s little wonder why Jordan chose to return to the NBA, in late-2001 – his immense desire to compete was far from satiated. You could argue, it still isn’t.