If you get close with Jordan and earn his trust, he will treat you like family. Jamal Crawford, who is very tight with the Bulls icon, found out how caring Jordan is when he tore his ACL in the summer of 2001.
Michael Jordan helped Jamal Crawford with his ACL surgery
Before the 2001-02 season, Crawford — who was on the Bulls — tore his left ACL while working out with Jordan and other NBA stars in Chicago. He needed ACL surgery to repair his tear, and Jordan made sure the youngster got the best doctor available.
“When I tore my ACL, he got me the doctor,” Crawford told Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson on the Knuckleheads podcast. “He told me about the doctor to go to in Alabama. He knew that person from when he was down there playing baseball. I remember calling him the night before my surgery. I was nervous. He just took care of me and took a liking to me.”
Jordan trained with Crawford and other players in the summer of 2001 to prepare for his comeback with the Washington Wizards. Once Crawford tore his ACL, His Airness made sure he called the doctor he met in 1994 when he played baseball because he was a big fan of Crawford’s game and wanted him to get the top surgeon.
The doctor who knew Jordan and repaired Crawford’s ACL clearly did a phenomenal job as the Seattle, Washington, native had a long and successful NBA career.
Jamal Crawford won the Sixth Man of the Year Award three times
With the help of Jordan and the doctor from Alabama, Crawford played in 1,266 games after tearing his ACL. He’s one of the best bench scorers in NBA history and has crossed over a handful of players.
In 1,327 career games with the Bulls, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and Brooklyn Nets, Crawford averaged 14.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. He’s eighth in NBA history in 3-pointers and scored 50 points four times. Crawford also won the Sixth Man of the Year Award three times.
Jordan, arguably the greatest player of all time, hand-picked Crawford to be on his Jordan Brand. The six-time champion also asked the Michigan product to play a younger version of himself in a Gatorade commercial.
Crawford and Jordan got so close that the latter always made sure the former was on his team when they played pickup games. In all of his dealings with Jordan, one day stands out to Crawford, and it came when he showed up to the gym late.
Michael Jordan was fuming in a corner by himself after losing a game
Crawford was late to the Jordan pickup games one day because he had to work out with the Bulls first. When he got to the gym, he saw Jordan sitting in the corner by himself. The six-time Finals MVP had lost a pickup game and was angry about it.
“So I work out with the Bulls first, and I had got down there and he had lost,” Crawford told Roderick Boone of The Athletic. “I remember he was so mad, he was sitting in the corner by himself. He was fuming. Fuming! Like, it hurt. Man, it’s a pickup game and he was fuming that he lost that day. And so after that, I came and we played, he got back on the court and we never lost again. So from that point on, he was like, ‘I’m not playing until J.C. gets here.’ So I had to start rushing my workouts, get there early so I can get there in time to play with him. We never lost.”
Jordan may be the most competitive athlete of all time. He hated to lose and took every loss personally. However, MJ clearly had a soft side. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have helped Crawford get through his ACL surgery.