Michael Jordan has never called himself the greatest player of all time because he never played against the likes of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, or Elgin Baylor. The Chicago Bulls legend thinks it’s unfair to the icons who came before him to call himself the GOAT since he never competed against them.
Just because Jordan doesn’t call himself the GOAT, though, doesn’t mean other people should tell him to his face that he’s not the best basketball player ever. New York Knicks scout and former UNC center Makhtar N’Diaye found that out the hard way when he told Jordan Hakeem Olajuwon is the GOAT.
Makhtar N’Diaye told Michael Jordan Hakeem Olajuwon was the GOAT
According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Jordan once showed up at a UNC practice while N’Diaye was on the team with Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison. The six-time champion went up to each player to shake their hand and introduce himself, and N’Diaye was the last player in line.
When Jordan asked N’Diaye what his name was, the big man stated his name and then asked the Bulls icon what his name was. N’Diaye was from Senegal and apparently didn’t watch Jordan and the Bulls. However, he knew about Olajuwon since the Dream was from Lagos, Nigeria.
As Jordan walked out of the locker room, N’Diaye told him that Olajuwon was the greatest basketball player of all time. That was the wrong move by the youngster.
Michael Jordan played against UNC stars with walk-ons
Jordan was so angry N’Diaye said Olajuwon was the greatest player of all time that he changed into his basketball gear and played against the UNC stars with walk-ons. According to Spears, the Hall of Famer destroyed everyone and showed N’Diaye who the real GOAT was.
As we saw in The Last Dance docuseries, Jordan is very competitive. He took every challenge personally during his career, and that mindset helped him win five MVPs, 10 scoring titles, and six championships with the Bulls. His Airness was so ruthless that he was offended when pundits compared Clyde Drexler, one of the best guards of all time, to him and attacked the Hall of Famer nonstop in the 1992 NBA Finals. That’s how cutthroat he was.
Jordan has an excellent memory, too. So when he saw N’Diaye a few years later in Miami, he gave him a rude welcome since he remembered what the former UNC center said about him and Olajuwon.
MJ didn’t help Makhtar N’Diaye get into a nightclub
Years after the practice at which Jordan demolished the UNC players, N’Diaye and Jamison were in Miami for the Super Bowl. Despite being basketball players, they couldn’t get into a fancy nightclub since it was a busy weekend.
All of a sudden, N’Diaye spotted Jordan on the balcony of the club and asked him if he could help them get in. According to Spears, MJ looked down and said, “Oh, now you remember my name, Africa” and walked back into the club. Jordan clearly recalled when N’Diaye didn’t know his name and called Olajuwon the GOAT.
These types of Jordan stories never get old because they show how competitive and petty he is. Hopefully, we get more tidbits like this one from Spears in the near future.