Michael Jordan gave Tim Grover 30 days. Jordan was the first professional athlete Grover ever trained, and it happened by accident. Those 30 days turned into a career-long relationship between the two. Grover recently spoke about his time with the former Chicago Bulls star and revealed the biggest compliment Jordan ever gave him.
Who is Tim Grover?
Grover is the son of two Indian parents, and he said that meant one thing.
“Both my parents are of Indian descent,” Grover said this week on the Endless Hustle podcast. “If you know anything about Indian parents, you have two options for education and job. Number one is a doctor and number two is a doctor. That was it.”
Grover said he didn’t know what he really wanted to do in college. One of his counselors suggested a course in exercise science, and he fell in love with it. He told his parents he wanted to train professional athletes. His father reluctantly told him he would let him pursue his passion, but he still had to take the entrance exam for medical school.
“The first time I took it, I absolutely bombed it,” he said. “I bombed it on purpose and my dad goes, ”’Nice try. I already signed you up for the next one.'”
Grover passed the second time around and made a deal with his parents. He promised if he couldn’t make a go of his training, he would go to medical school.
He spent the next few years working minimum wage ($3.35 an hour) at a health club, and he said it was one of the best things to happen to him.
“I had all the knowledge of the training, but I had no practical experience,” he said. “This got me a chance to really work on my craft.”
Tim Grover revealed the biggest compliment he received from Michael Jordan
Grover’s plan worked. He worked with Jordan for the better part of his career and later worked with other big-name stars, including Kobe Bryant. He and Jordan worked as a team doing things that had never been done before.
“Michael was the first professional athlete that I knew of, other than boxers and people that did the Olympics, that had somebody designated strictly for him,” Grover said. “You’re in charge of my well-being. You’re in charge of my hydration, my food, my injury prevention, my strength and conditioning.
“Michael was really the first one who opened the door and said, ‘Hey listen, Find that individual that has an expertise in things that you don’t and let them enhance your abilities.”
Jordan grew bigger and stronger. Grover said the biggest testament to his workout success was the number of games Jordan was able to play without injury. During a 10-year span, Grover said Jordan missed only six games.
Grover recalled the biggest compliment MJ ever gave him regarding his training.
“A lot of people would approach Michael and say, ‘Can I use Grover?'” Grover said. “Michael’s standard line was, ‘I don’t pay Grover to train me. I pay him not to train anybody else,’ which is the biggest compliment that you can get. For the first three years, he didn’t allow me to work with anybody else.”
There was one small issue when Grover first met Jordan
Grover began working with Jordan through fate. As he began his career, he read a newspaper article that said Jordan was sick of taking a physical pounding from the Detroit Pistons. Grover sent 14 hand-written letters, one each to every Bulls player except their star player. Jordan, however, found an opened letter in the locker room and had his people get in contact with the trainer.
“I got a call from the athletic trainer at the time and he goes, ‘Hey, we have somebody who’s interested in your services,'” Grover told Endless Hustle. “They didn’t tell me who it was. I thought it might be one of the players who doesn’t play much. For three months, they drilled me about my knowledge, my practicals. They wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing, but I still didn’t know who they were interviewing me for.
“They three months go by and they said, ‘We want you to go meet the client. Here’s the address.’ They didn’t tell me who it was. It’s in the suburbs. This is before the big gated house. I ring the doorbell once and I ring it a second time. I ring it a third time, no answer, and I’m like all right I’ve just been set up. Michael Jordan ends up opening the door.
“Luckily, I’m not a star-struck person. I’m prepared for anything they’re going to throw at me because I did my homework. Michael invited me in the house.
That’s when the one tiny issue occurred.
“I had Converse gym shoes on,” he said. “I had to take those off before I went in the house.”