Video: Michael Jordan’s first regular-season NBA game (1984 debut)

Michael Jordan

Historically-important footage of Michael Jordan has emerged. Here is the pre-game show, including player introductions, from MJ’s NBA debut – October 26, 1984.

Michael Jordan gets his first taste of NBA-stardom. He receives a rousing-ovation from the Chicago-faithful; even though it is clearly, far from a full house. In the 1984 NBA season, the Bulls were a lackluster 27-55; missing the post-season completely. The 1984 NBA Draft changed all that and the Windy City welcomed a young Michael Jeffrey Jordan into its arms. Jordan had just led Team USA to gold, at the Los Angeles Olympics. Prior to that, he was the 1984 NCAA Player of the Year and collected a slew of awards and honors in a decorated, three-year career with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Prior to this footage surfacing, a ‘Hardwood Classics’ version of MJ’s first NBA game, was all that existed. The game was joined in progress, in the 3rd quarter. It’s remarkable that it has taken almost 30 years since this game was played, for it to appear in its entirety.

In the first half of this game, Jordan, on a strong drive to the hoop, was met at the rim, by a man mountain named Jeff Ruland (my recent podcast guest):

For the record, Michael Jordan finished with 16 points, in a 109-93 Bulls victory.

 

Kendall Gill: Illinois great, All-American and NBA star | Interview

Illinois Fighting Illini great, All-American and NBA star, Kendall Gill.

Due to audio issues, our initial recording of Kendall’s podcast episode failed. Here is the transcribed interview of that conversation – featuring discussion topics that didn’t make it into the re-recorded episode. Thanks again Kendall for your great generosity.

 

Podcast: In all Airness – Jordan-era | NBA History

Guest: Kendall Gill | Record date: Jan 28, 2014 | Key: A = Adam / K =Kendall

 

A: Kendall Gill, thanks for joining me.

K: No problem. It’s a pleasure to be heard Down Under in Australia.

A: Have you ever been to Australia before?

K: Never been to Australia before – but someday, I plan on making it.

A: How do you compare the in-arena atmosphere of college basketball, to the support your Charlotte Hornets received in the NBA?

K: It was a little bit different, because an important thing to remember about the Illini players – each and every one of those players; even the walk-ons – was from the state of Illinois. All of us were home grown. It was special.

When I go to North Carolina and play for the Charlotte Hornets, it was great as well, because of the 22,000 fans they had there every night – they were basketball crazy. At that time, the Hornets were the only show in town. It seemed like a college atmosphere, but it was a little different playing pro basketball to college basketball, because players can get traded and you don’t get to form the special relationships as a pro player, that you can as a college player. The fan support was awesome in Charlotte.

A: How was it, playing with a unique team mate like Muggsy Bogues?

K: Well, with Muggsy, it was great playing with him, because he was a point guard that could deliver the basketball to you. That was his first priority. In today’s day and age, you have guys that shoot first. Muggsy was not at all like that – he pushed the basketball up the court. If you ran, he would give you the basketball. Defensively, people didn’t want to dribble the basketball up against Muggsy Bogues.

If you remember Rod Strickland, who is one of the great point guards – most underrated point guards that has ever played in the NBA – bringing the ball up against Muggsy, he never wanted to do that. He always passed the ball off to the two-guard and let him bring it up. That lets you know that even though Muggsy was 5’3”, he could change the game at any time.

A: True. Rod Strickland had great handle of the ball, so it’s a testament to how good Muggsy was. It must have been quite jarring to see someone of his (Bogues) stature, compete and be so good at NBA level, where players are much taller. Can you talk about his competitiveness?

K: Absolutely. He’s a big-time competitor and confident. Totally confident. Even though he was small, he used his speed to his advantage. He had a great ability to cause disruption on the defensive end. These are his strengths. We know he wasn’t the greatest scorer – he was great at other things and that is what he kept him in the league for so long.

A: Most listeners will know, as we record this chat, the Charlotte Bobcats will soon revert back to being named the Charlotte Hornets. As one of the Hornets’ best players in their franchise history, what’s your opinion of their name change?

K: I think it’s great. I think the fans were so hurt when the franchise left for New Orleans, that when the NBA brought them back, it still wasn’t the same – they were the Bobcats. I think the city identifies with the colors of purple and teal. They identify that with the Hornets name. Now, it seems like the real girlfriend is back (laughs) – so to speak.

I think the city will embrace it and with the name change, there will be more pride instilled in the franchise. Michael Jordan and Fred Whitfield and all those guys understand that. That’s why they wanted to bring the name-change back. It is going to be great for the franchise.

A: [Mutombo’s Nuggets defeated Gill’s Sonics: 1994 NBA Playoffs] After losing Game 5 and returning to the locker room, what happened behind closed doors?

K: Well, it was like a morgue. It was completely silent and like a train hit us. We didn’t know what happened. I don’t know if you saw, but I’m a big boxing fan. Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez; in a fight in which he got knocked out. Manny was winning the fight and then, all of sudden – boom – one punch…he’s out. Exactly the feeling we had when we lost to the Denver Nuggets.

A: At what point in your career, did you increase your physical conditioning, with boxing and aerobic-type exercises?

K: About my 10th year in the league, I started to do mixed-martial arts – things you’d see on the UFC. I did that for extra conditioning in the summer time – being a 10th year player, you need something else to take it to another level, to keep you ahead of the younger players and that’s why I did it. My first love was always boxing. I used to box when I was a kid. I went back to my first love. I had four professional fights – I may have another one – I’m not sure right now. I’m trying to work out the details. However, that is my passion and I do it every day.

A: I know that recently you set a goal to get back to your ideal NBA game-shape. The physical conditioning that you’re talking about – is this one of the driving forces behind that decision?

K: It is. My brothers actually bet me that I couldn’t get into that type of shape again. At Christmas, at my parents’ house, my brothers actually bet me that I couldn’t do it. I said, ‘OK’. It’s a challenge – I always look for challenges – I’m going to do it. I’ve already been in a month of training and I’ve got about a month and a half to go. We’ll see. I’m half way there (laughs).

A: Who did you get amped up for and look forward to playing, when you read your NBA schedule?

K: Well, I’ll tell you what. I used to get amped up to play against Drazen Petrovic. He always brought the best out in me. He and I had some terrific battles. I loved playing against Michael, because…one thing, Michael had the Mike Tyson effect. He had the other guys beat before they even got to the arena. They were afraid of him, you know. That never worked on me. I was never afraid and I relished playing against him – even though he was the greatest to ever play the game. I’m not going to stop him; but, I’m going to make it hard for him. I made it very hard for him to score, but, he still scored. He also had the best offense – the Triangle.

You know, we can go back to Kobe Bryant and how great he was. Shaquille O’Neal. Scottie Pippen. Another guy I loved playing against, even though I didn’t guard him – Hakeem Olajuwon. I think he was the second best player I’ve ever played against. Players like that…you know, Glen Rice and I had a lot battles. Also, Grant Hill. A lot of people don’t know; had Grant Hill never been injured, we’d be talking about one of the greatest players to ever play this game. He was one of the most difficult guys to cover as well.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

NCAA: Retrospective | Flyin’ Illini1989: Elite Eight

NBA: Draft | Dunk Contest | Highlights | Nuggets v Sonics | Kendall v MJ

Boxing: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Fight Night

Kendall Gill online: Twitter | Instagram | The Backcourt Online

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

 

AIR045: Jeff Ruland – HS All-American, NCAA great and NBA All-Star | Podcast

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Copyright © Jeff Ruland

Copyright © Jeff Ruland

High School All-American, NCAA great and NBA All-Star, Jeff Ruland.

Jeff discusses his early sporting life and the major growth-spurt that coincided with his decision to focus on basketball. He was named High School All-American in the same class as Magic Johnson and was heavily recruited across the country. We chat about his decision to remain in New York and commit to Iona College, led by future luminary, Jim Valvano.

Jeff opens up about the 1980 NBA Draft and why he opted to head overseas and play in Spain, before commencing his rookie season in 1982. We talk about Jeff’s excellent first three full seasons, that resulted in NBA All-Star selections in 1984 and 1985. Jeff recalls Michael Jordan’s debut game in the NBA and the rude awakening that MJ would receive on his first dunk attempt in Chicago Stadium.

We chat about the impact of the Showtime Lakers and Boston’s Big Three, plus, the onset of injury issues that began to halt Jeff’s career. We also talk about one of the most memorable trades in NBA history; the Bullets’ decision to trade Jeff to Philadelphia, in exchange for Moses Malone. Jeff details his (first) retirement from the NBA in 1987 and how he went back to college to complete his degree, before making his remarkable comeback attempt in the 1992 season.

We also learn about the successes of Jeff’s coaching career, that are also mixed with trials and tribulations you need to hear to fully comprehend. Our conversation covers a broad-range of interesting topics and is an open and engaging look at one of basketball’s most underrated – in my opinion – careers, ever.

 

Links to topics discussed (more added soon):

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

 

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

 

AIR044: Great NBA Games – Michael Jordan 63 points (1986) – Bulls at Celtics | Podcast

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Adam and Todd discuss Michael Jordan’s record-breaking Playoff game – April 20th, 1986 – MJ scored 63 points in the Chicago Bulls’ double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.

We discuss all the key aspects of the game. We talk about the CBS broadcast and its commentary team of Dick Stockton, Tom Heinsohn and Pat O’Brien. We chat about the contrasting nature of Boston and Chicago’s respective seasons, leading into their first-round Playoffs meeting. We talk about each team’s roster and our memories and opinions on this incredible match-up – arguably one of the top 10 NBA games ever played.

As per usual, the conversation is scattered with humor and plenty of insight. Todd also updates us on the status of his forthcoming book on the late, great, Drazen Petrovic. A must-listen, for die-hard NBA fans, regardless of the team you support.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference

April 20, 1986 | Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers [Box Score] [stat-sheet]

1986 NBA Season Summary

Sports Illustrated (1986): Bird; NBA’s all-time best player?

Greatest Sports Legends (1988): O.J. Simpson | Elvin Hayes

Bill Simmons’ Grantland (2014): George Gervin

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunes | RSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

 

AIR043: Bill Cartwright – NCAA All-American, All-Star and five-time NBA Champion | Podcast

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Bill Cartwright

NCAA All-American, All-Star and five-time NBA Champion, Bill Cartwright.

Bill discusses his early years, growing up in California and playing baseball – his first sporting love. He became a highly-recruited basketballer, but chose to remain in his home state, developing into a standout at the University of San Francisco. We also chat about Bill’s first memories of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. In his senior season, Cartwright was named 1st Team All-American.

Bill talks about the 1979 NBA Draft and his (very) underrated rookie season – where he was named an All-Star and All-Rookie 1st Team selection. He recalls some of the all-time greats he played with and against, including Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, Darryl Dawkins, Julius Erving, Dave Cowens and many others. We learn about Bill’s career in New York, the legendary coaches he played for and the interesting details behind his trade to the Chicago Bulls.

We chat about The Jordan Rules and its impact on the Bulls’ unity. We break down Bill’s career in Chicago – including his role as team co-captain. He offers his thoughts on each of his three NBA Championships (as a player), the Bulls’ (1994) season without Michael Jordan and more.

We learn about Bill’s coaching career, too. He talks about his varied roles within the NBA, plus, his move to Japan, where he was Osaka Evessa’s head coach, in the Basketball Japan League. This conversation is wide-ranging and covers Bill entire career. We even talk about his future coaching plans and the chat concludes with a discussion of Australia’s own – and Cartwright’s former teammate – Luc Longley.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

Photos: USF | Pre-NBA Draft

NBA Finals: 1991 | 1992 | 1993

NBA: vs. Pistons | 1994

Sacramento Sports: Hall of Fame

TV: Celebrity Bucket List | Coaching: Teach, in Japan

Bill Cartwright online: Company | LinkedIn

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

 

AIR042: Kendall Gill – Illinois great, All-American and NBA star | Podcast

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Illinois Fighting Illini great, All-American and NBA star, Kendall Gill.

Kendall talks about growing up in the city of Chicago – where he played baseball and took up boxing – before his family moved to the suburbs and he started playing basketball. Kendall starred at Rich Central High School and played four seasons at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was named 3rd Team All-American, his senior season.

We chat about Kendall’s memories of the 1990 NBA Draft, where the Charlotte Hornets selected him with the fifth overall pick – he was named All-Rookie 1st Team, in 1991. We discuss his three seasons in Charlotte and his involvement in the 1991 All-Star Weekend.

Kendall talks about his trade from Charlotte to Seattle, where he played two seasons on one of the most exciting and up-tempo franchises of the 1990s. He discusses his trade back to Charlotte – where he played a further 36 games – before learning the shock news that he was traded to New Jersey. Kendall played six seasons with the Nets. We cover his final four seasons in the NBA. Kendall talks about playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls and the experience of playing with – rather than, against – Scottie Pippen.

Kendall discusses his post-NBA career, where he spent seven seasons as a studio analyst for the Chicago Bulls – he candidly reflects on the (2013) altercation that led to Comcast SportsNet (CSN) Chicago, not renewing his contract.

This is a conversation packed with great discussion topics. A little teaser, too – Kendall offers up an awesome story, relating to one of the NBA’s biggest trades of the 1990s.

Note: due to audio issues, the first recording of this podcast episode failed. I then planned to feature – as a transcribed interview – our conversation, here on my website. However, Kendall generously offered for us to re-record the chat, the following day. I was most grateful for the opportunity. A transcription of parts from our first chat, that didn’t make it into this re-recorded episode, will appear here on this page, in the coming days. If you enjoy this chat, I’d be most appreciative if you take a moment to drop Kendall a line and thank him for his generosity.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

NCAA: Retrospective | Flyin’ Illini1989: Elite Eight

NBA: Draft | Dunk Contest | Highlights | Nuggets v Sonics | Kendall v MJ

Boxing: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Fight Night

Kendall Gill online: Twitter | Instagram | The Backcourt Online

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail