Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Kobe Bryant are easily three of the greatest and most popular players in NBA history. While Barkley may have never won an NBA title as Jordan and Bryant both did on multiple occasions, the “Round Mound of Rebound” did win an NBA MVP as Jordan and Kobe did, and also won multiple gold medals. But those aren’t the only things the three have in common as all three made an appearance (two in MJ’s case) on a Japanese game show to participate in a game that really needs to become a part of NBA All-Star weekend.
Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley appeared together on a Japanese game show in 1996
In September 1996, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley took part in the Hoop Heroes Tour in Tokyo, Japan, a Nike event designed to help spread the brand into the Asian market. The duo participated in a number of different events throughout the week, one of which was an appearance on a popular game show called Pro Sportsman No. 1, which was produced by the same people who produced the original version of Ninja Warrior.
Jordan and Barkley competed against one another in a game called “9 Hoops.” While different variations of the game came later, which we’ll get to in a moment, MJ and Chuck played the original and simplest version in which three rows of three hoops are lined up, each row at a different height. A contestant is given a total of 12 shots, the goal being to make a basket in each of the nine hoops.
As you can see in the video above, while Barkley is having fun with it, Jordan, to the surprise of nobody, is essentially all business. And not only does MJ beat Barkley, but he also sinks a bucket in all nine hoops. Shocking, I know.
Jordan made a second appearance on the show during his second retirement from the NBA
In 2000, during his second retirement from the NBA, Jordan made a second appearance on the show and played two new variations of “9 Hoops,” one in which the nine baskets move around, and another in which they’re placed at different angles and heights, making things much more difficult.
Jordan first played “9 Hoops II,” the version in which the baskets move, but couldn’t sink a shot into all nine in the 12 shots he was given, which you know he took personally. But he didn’t let the initial defeat get him down as he came back to win “9 Hoops Hide,” sinking his final attempt and celebrating as he’d just won a seventh NBA championship. Jordan is said to be the only person to ever win “9 Hoops Hide.”
Kobe Bryant got in on the ‘9 Hoops’ fun as well
Kobe Bryant also once made an appearance on the show, believed to be in 1998 as part of a promotional tour for Adidas. Kobe played “9 Hoops II” in his appearance and, just like Jordan, came up one basket short in the moving rims version of the game, which he certainly wasn’t happy about. It appears as if Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon once appeared on the show as well as both show up at the end of the Kobe video before it cuts off.
“9 Hoops” would honestly be an amazing addition to NBA All-Star Weekend. Could you imagine Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, or any of the other amazing shooters in the league taking a crack at this? We’d go with either “9 Hoops II” or “9 Hoops Hide” as the original version would simply be too easy for these guys, but either version would be highly entertaining, don’t you think?