Michael Jordan Hates Losing but Once Supposedly Lost to a Famous Actor in a Shooting Contest: ‘Michael Didn’t Win Every Game’

If you follow basketball even casually, you likely know Michael Jordan rarely lost during his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls. He was (and still is) an intense competitor and hated losing in anything, even off-court competitions.

But what if someone told you that Jordan lost in a basketball-related game, and he did it to a person who didn’t even play the sport professionally?

That’s what actor Elliott Gould said happened between him and MJ when they competed in a shooting competition for charity.

Michael Jordan hates losing

After watching The Last Dance in 2020, basketball fans now fully understand that Michael Jordan absolutely hates losing, and he does whatever he has to do to win, which was especially the case during his NBA career with the Bulls.

His relentless mentality ended up helping him become extremely successful on the court, as he won six championships, six NBA Finals MVPs, and five league MVPs. But he also hates to come up short in anything off the hardwood.

A plethora of stories about his competitiveness have come out over the years. MJ has done anything from betting on jumbotron games to going on a 36-hour gambling spree with former NBA star Antoine Walker.

One time, though, Jordan competed in an on-court competition with an actor, and he supposedly lost.

Elliott Gould said he beat MJ in Around the World

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan before an NBA Finals game against the Utah Jazz in 1997.
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls speaks to reporters during a practice before an NBA Finals game against the Utah Jazz on June 10, 1997. | Brian Bahr / Staff via Getty Images

Elliott Gould has been acting for decades. He’s most known for starring in the movie MASH and playing Ross and Monica’s father in Friends. He was also married to superstar singer and actress Barbara Streisand for eight years.

Gould appeared on an episode of The Rich Eisen Show in 2017, and he told the story of the time he beat Jordan in a game of Around the World during a charity event.

“I was asked to play him in HORSE, Around the World, and one-on-one,” he said. “… We played HORSE, and I could shoot. … So, I said, ‘I’m gonna start us off with an old-fashioned, traditional, fundamental is a very good keyword, two-handed set shot like Red Auerbach taught me.’ I hit it, swish, and Michael didn’t shoot, so right away, he’s got a letter; he’s behind. And I could shoot. Michael went to half-court, lined up, closed his eyes, stuck his tongue out, and hit two shots. And I could barely reach it from there, I have to heave it.”

Jordan went on to win in HORSE, as Gould simply didn’t have his same athleticism. But Around the World was a different story, according to the actor.

“Michael didn’t win every game,” he said. “Michael Jordan lost to me in Around the World. I’m coming around, I miss a shot; nobody’s perfect. Michael doesn’t close it out.”

Gould added that he then went back around and just had to hit one free throw to end the game.

He said he did just that.

“Michael didn’t win Around the World,” Gould said.

This event hasn’t been highly covered over the years, so maybe Jordan found a way to get rid of any proof that he lost, or perhaps Gould is just saying it because MJ can’t prove him wrong (who wouldn’t want to say they beat Michael Jordan on the basketball court?). Either way, it’s an incredible story, and it would be great to see the complete footage of it.

Michael Jordan is still known for being an ultimate winner

Whether Michael Jordan lost to Elliott Gould or not, he’s still known for being the ultimate winner, especially during his Bulls days.

Jordan won his six championships in only six trips to the NBA Finals, giving him an unblemished 6-0 record in that series, and he never even played in a Game 7 in it. He and the Bulls also won two separate three-peats together, and they may have won eight straight titles had he not left basketball for a season-plus to play baseball.

Not everyone’s perfect, even Michael Jordan, and if he did actually lose to Gould, it didn’t hurt his image too much. Perhaps that loss just gave him extra motivation to stay in the gym and become the great player he became. (OK, probably not, but you never know what Jordan used as motivation. He always looked for something to give him an extra edge.)

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

RELATED: Michael Jordan’s Competitiveness Seeps Into All but 1 Area of His Life, According to Actor Will Smith