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.

 

Video: Michael Jordan referees 3-on-3 – Barkley, Kidd & Finley, versus sumo wrestlers – Japan

More intriguing footage of Michael Jordan has emerged. This time, MJ and fellow Nike pals, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire, are in Japan, taking part in the Hoop Heroes exhibition. According to Ad Age and the Arizona Daily Star, this event took place in September of 1996. The sumo wrestlers are Akebono, Konishiki & Musashimaru. At upwards of $500 for a courtside seat, you would hope that the crowd in attendance, got their money’s worth.

In the above-clip, Jordan referees a game of 3-on-3. It starts off strong; not surprisingly, Jordan goes to work on Barkley, calling him for a touch-foul almost instantly; much to the delight of the crowd. Due to the immense size of the sumo wrestlers, Charles Barkley appears more like a svelte-looking Scottie Pippen, than his usual self.

In a prescient-moment, during the 1994 NBA season – Jordan, then-retired from the sport he had dominated – wryly-said (referring to Barkley): “There comes a time in life when you need to try something new, and sumo wrestling may be that challenge for him, you never know”

The video instantly enters the canon of rare Michael Jordan footage. It recently surfaced on YouTube, but my research suggests it originated on Vimeo – whether or not the uploader is indeed the Konishiki – who features in the clip – remains to be seen.

 

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.