In the early ’90s, Michael Jordan was the king of the courts. Now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA. He was unstoppable, winning six championship titles with the Chicago Bulls. Anyone who faced him in a one-on-one battle was put in their place quickly. Back in 2003, however, a mutual fund CEO from Chicago schooled Jordan in one of the greatest 1-on-1 upsets of all time.
The history of Michael Jordan’s one-on-one matchups
Once a member of the Dream Team, Jordan is admittedly very competitive by nature. As he approached his 50th birthday, he even challenged 19-year-old Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a 1-on-1, as Bleacher Report explains.
When the MVP beat the young athlete without breaking a sweat, Gilchrist responded to CNN by saying, “It was hard for me. I lost to a 50-year-old guy. That’s my boss though. He’s the best player to play the game.”
Jordan has a long history of being featured in video games. In 1988, Jordan vs. Bird One on One for Sega was released by Electronic Arts. When the NBA 2K14 game debuted, Jordan appeared in a promotional video. He discussed who he would like to take on in a head-to-head competition.
Selecting from among the top NBA players, he chose legends like Jerry West, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Carmelo Anthony, Elgin Baylor, and Dwayne Wade. A smiling Jordan added, “I don’t think I would lose other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”
Who beat Jordan one-on-one?
Jordan used to host The Michael Jordan Senior Flight School in Las Vegas. Business executives and basketball enthusiasts put up $15,000 for the exclusive opportunity to spend four days with Jordan. One of the highlights of the camp involved attendees getting a chance to take on the legendary NBA player one-on-one.
In 2003, participant John Rogers captured this once-in-a-lifetime experience on video. Jordan began the event, reports The Herd Now, by demolishing each contender with ease and saying, “Don’t get mad at me. I’m just too good for you.” Before Rogers got his chance to take on the GOAT, MJ can be heard telling the crowd, “What, you think I had this camp just so you all could beat me?”
A moment later, and much to the amazement of everyone in the gym, Rogers snuck around Jordan and scored his first basket. Jordan, smiling, handed over the ball, and this time Rogers drove to the left. The crowd of about 150 camp attendees cheered on Rogers, as he scored yet again.
Rogers missed the third shot but made Jordan a little nervous. MJ got the ball and easily made two out of three shots. With the score tied, it was time for Rogers to make his move. He drove left, eluding Jordan’s tall defensive reach, and scored again, using MJ’s signature underhanded layup. As the ball hit the glass, Jordan can be heard exclaiming, “Oh, no!”
The crowd sat stunned as Jordan and Rogers hugged center court. Comedian Damon Wayans, who attended the camp, asked him, “How do you feel about getting humiliated?” Jordan laughed, saying, “In life, in the game, you get dunked on, you get crossed over, it all happens.” Rogers became known as the only guy in the camp’s history to win one-on-one against Jordan.
How did a mutual fund CEO beat Jordan?
Rogers refers to Jordan as the greatest player ever. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, he discussed his experience at Jordan’s Flight School. He explained that the camp was intended for participants age 35 years and older. Rogers claims Jordan had become overconfident since no one had ever beaten him.
He explained how Jordan, “would let people make a basket or two before he clamped down and shut people down.” Rogers claims that when it was his turn, he had an advantage because Jordan had already played against 15 others. He said Jordan seemed tired, which gave him a chance. The moment Rogers made the winning shot is one he will never forget.
Who is John Rogers?
The 61-year-old is the founder and CEO of Ariel Mutual Funds in Chicago. The highly successful business is the nation’s largest minority-run investment firm. He’s always enjoyed basketball, competing on Princeton’s team in college.
Rogers was part of the elusive 3×3 team and is known around Chicago for playing pickup basketball with Barack Obama. Today, he helps fund a 3×3 team for the Tokyo Olympics as NBC Sports reports. He still watches the video with fond memories of the day he beat out Michael Jordan.