Michael Jordan Caused 1 Rookie to See Him in an Entirely Different Light off of the Court: ‘But Then When You Get on the Basketball Court, It’s Like He’s Flipped the Switch and He Becomes This Assassin’

If there was one player in NBA history you’d pick to win a game, chances are you’re picking Michael Jordan.

MJ is one of the game’s ultimate winners, mostly due to a killer instinct that helped him win six titles with the Chicago Bulls. By simply watching him on the court, you would think Jordan’s tenacity would follow him around all of the time. But one former NBA player said his perception of Jordan changed soon after entering the league, when he saw number 23 displaying a high level of kindness and compassion to those in need.

Glen Rice met Michael Jordan at a charity event

By 1990, Jordan already had six All-Star appearances and four scoring titles on his resume. Meanwhile, Glen Rice was in his rookie season after being selected by the Miami Heat fourth overall.

Rice first met Jordan in Miami, Florida at a hurricane relief event. Of course, the former Michigan star knew what MJ was about on the court. But the rookie saw an entirely different Michael Jordan that day (h/t The Athletic).

“Right then and there I knew [Jordan] was amazing because he was giving back to the community. His personality, his charm, it was fabulous. But then when you get on the basketball court, it’s like he’s flipped the switch and he becomes this assassin, but you respect it. You respect what he was about on and off the court.”

Glen Rice

Rice would eventually see plenty of the assassin version of Jordan. Between the regular season and the playoffs, the three-time All-Star bested Jordan just six times in 37 games.

Michael Jordan has always given back to the community

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Jordan has never been shy about using his wealth to help others.

In 2018, Jordan put $2 million toward Hurricane Florence relief efforts. In addition, he handed out care packages and met with people affected by the hurricane in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. One year earlier, he donated $7 million to fund two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, NC. He also famously donated his entire $1 million salary with the Washington Wizards to 9/11-related charities.

Last Thanksgiving, MJ gave the non-profit organization Feeding America $2 million. The money came from proceeds from the wildly successful documentary series The Last Dance, which chronicled Jordan’s career with the Bulls.

“In these challenging times and in a year of unimaginable difficulty due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to pause and give thanks,” Jordan said. “I am proud to be donating additional proceeds from The Last Dance to Feeding America and its member food banks in the Carolinas and Chicago to help feed America’s hungry.”

Jordan was vicious on the court

In the story about his first meeting with Jordan, Rice talked about Jordan’s charm. His personality made him shine outside of the arena, especially when he was doing something like giving back to the community.

But when it was game time, MJ was cold-blooded.

“You knew he was Michael Jordan the assassin, but at the same time the charm he had. It was almost like he lured you to sleep and then he just pounced on you. Once he got a hold of you he didn’t let go until he was finished. And you couldn’t really do anything about it.”

Glen Rice

Jordan clearly pounced on a lot of players over his 15-season run. With six Finals MVPs, five league MVPs, and countless other accolades, he was the best player in the game for nearly his entire career.

Even though he was the assassin Rice described, Jordan was still more than capable of flipping a switch and becoming a kind, giving role model for all.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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