While no one can argue with Michael Jordan’s talent, he wasn’t always the greatest teammate. His Airness only cared about winning; anyone who stood in his way, even if they were wearing the same uniform, would feel his wrath. Horace Grant, however, remembers his time with the Chicago Bulls quite fondly.
Although Grant left the Bulls after the 1993-94 season, he never forgot his time with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. In fact, the forward believed playing with those two greats was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Horace Grant’s basketball career
Coming out of high school, Horace Grant wasn’t a big name basketball recruit. He and his twin brother headed to Clemson; once in college, however, Horace’s career changed forever
With each passing season, Grant improved. As a freshman, he averaged 5.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game; during his senior year, those numbers jumped to 21 points and 9.6 boards per outing en route to an ACC Player of the Year title.
After graduation, Grant entered the 1987 NBA draft. The Chicago Bulls selected him with the tenth overall pick; they also worked out a draft-day deal, bringing Scottie Pippen to the Windy City. Those two forwards teamed up with Michael Jordan, helping the Bulls develop into a dynasty.
After spending seven seasons with the Bulls, Grant decided to hit free agency. He joined up with the Orlando Magic, where he helped the club reach the 1995 NBA finals. The forward also spent time with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Los Angles Lakers before calling it a career. He played 17 professional campaigns, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and winning four NBA titles.
Playing with Michael Jordan was career-changing
During his time in college, Horace Grant was the big man on campus. Once he joined the Chicago Bulls, however, everything changed.
“When you average 20 points a game in college, you want to continue doing that,” Grant told the Bull’s website. That wouldn’t be possible in the NBA, though. While he still pitched in on the offensive end, he simply didn’t have the firepower to take touches away from Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen; consequently, the forward had to embrace a more blue-collar role, focusing on defense and rebounding. It wasn’t the easiest transition, but it ended up paying dividends.
“It really humbled me when I got here, but it was one of the best things that ever happened,” the forward explained. Doing the dirty work allowed him to find a niche in the professional rank. If Grant tried to be a scorer, he might not have spent spend almost two decades in the NBA, picking up four championship rings in the process.
Horace Grant still holds Michael Jordan in high regard
While he didn’t spend his entire career in Chicago, Horace Grant still has plenty of memories from his time with the Bulls. It’s safe to say that Michael Jordan made quite an impression on the forward.
In 2013, Grant was asked about Scottie Pippen’s claim that LeBron James had surpassed His Airness. Horace, however, took the opposite stance.
“LeBron has many years to play, and Scottie was really drinking that day when he said that,” Grant explained. “You can’t compare anybody to Michael. You can compare, but Michael is the best player I’ve ever seen or ever played against. Not taking anything away from Kobe [Bryant] or LeBron or Carmelo [Anthony] or even D-Rose, but wait until those guys get through playing. Then you can say compare the two careers.”
Grant went on to say Jordan would score 45 points per game if he were playing in the modern NBA. The forward was then asked what would happen if their Chicago Bulls played against LeBron’s Heat, who were the reigning champions at the time.
We would have kicked their asses,” Grant simply said.