Michael Jordan has changed many peoples’ lives over the years. But for one former member of the Chicago Bulls, everything changed when His Airness interrupted his chicken parmesan dinner at Olive Garden.
And once Jordan got off the phone with him, Brad Sellers’ NBA career would never be the same.
The arrival of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant gave Chicago hope for the future
Brad Sellers joined the Bulls as the ninth overall pick of the 1986 NBA draft. A year later, he watched Chicago bring in two other highly-talented forwards in Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen. And it didn’t take long for both to earn big-time minutes.
During the 1988-89 season, Grant averaged 12 points and 8.6 rebounds in 79 starts. Pippen flashed the all-around ability that later made him an all-time NBA great.
Meanwhile, Sellers went from starting 76 games to just 25. The towering forward actually played fewer minutes in his third year in Chicago than he did as a rookie.
With Grant and Pippen playing key roles alongside Michael Jordan, the Bulls enjoyed quite a successful campaign. After posting a 47-35 record, they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. However, after losing to the Detroit Pistons in six games, the team moved on from head coach Doug Collins.
But before the Bulls tasted championship glory, they also cut ties with another member of the franchise.
Michael Jordan changed a teammate’s life forever by making an important phone call to Olive Garden
For Brad Sellers, the arrival of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant represented a roadblock to playing time. With a desire for a change of scenery, the 7-foot forward turned to Michael Jordan for some help.
“I told MJ, ‘You got to go in there and tell them that this is not going to work for me here,'” Sellers told The Undefeated.
Jordan made sure his teammate truly wanted out of Chicago before confirming he would honor his request.
Stunningly, it took only a day for Sellers’ wish to come true. In fact, an Olive Garden manager had to interrupt his chicken parmesan dinner to deliver an important message. Jordan had called the restaurant to speak with his teammate.
And the news certainly changed Sellers’ life forever.
“They’re trading you to Seattle tomorrow,” Jordan said. “Good luck, B.”
Brad Sellers missed out on a huge opportunity to win championships with the Bulls
Whatever Michael Jordan relayed to Bulls management obviously got through. On June 26, 1989, Chicago traded Sellers to the Seattle SuperSonics.
Although the former first-round pick got a chance for a fresh start, his NBA career came to a rather swift end after he got dealt. Sellers only played 45 games for the SuperSonics before he got traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the middle of the 1989-90 season.
After spending a year playing overseas, he spent the 1991-92 season with the Pistons. However, Sellers only averaged 2.4 points in 43 games.
He returned to Minnesota for what amounted to his final NBA season and averaged just 2.5 points in 9.9 minutes of action. Sellers then returned to Europe to continue his pro basketball career for several more years.
In the end, he ultimately made a big miscalculation by asking Michael Jordan to help him find a new home. As Sellers tried to just maintain a job in the league, the Bulls went on to win three straight NBA titles.
Of course, they accomplished that feat again once MJ gave up on playing pro baseball.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.