The Greatest Game Never Played
The made for TV court at Caesars Palace could have been empty except for one basketball and two of the game’s most illustrious players ever. They would’ve been free of teammates, facing each other head on in The King of the Court, to finally answer a question that remained unanswered for so long: Who’s betterichael Jordan or Magic Johnson?
cheap adidas The game cheap Air max shoes was to consist of two halvesne on one, 15 minutes eachn a heavyweight matchup: a pay per view special, maybe on HBO, but certainly not NBC, because this wasn’t going to be some regular Sunday afternoon NBA game. This was cheap air jordan meant to be a stunt of the highest order, under the bright lights of Las Vegas, cheap jordans online the winner set to take home $1 million, with many, many more millions at stake. cheap adidas
“I came up with the idea,” Johnson told cheap adidas the Los Angeles Times in January 1990. “We came up with what we wanted to do, and my people contacted Michael’s people, and we decided to go ahead with it.”
cheap jordans in china At 30 years old with all five of his Los Angeles Lakers championships behind him, cheap jordans sale Johnson was the NBA’s reigning MVP. With that wide smile, he was a Sin City promoter’s dream. His opponent backing him down in that phantasmal matchup was going to be a 27 year old Jordan with room enough for six rings ahead. Johnson’s agent remembers Magic musing, He would’ve flown in the air over me. cheap jordans in china
Cheap jordans “Not sounding cocky,” Jordan said in an ESPN interview months before the main event was to take place, “I must admit I would have to have the advantage being that I would be a little bit quicker and able to use a lot more weapons than he may.” Cheap jordans
cheap jordans from china The crowd would be rowdyho shows up to a Vegas title fight without betting on it?nd Jordan would be motivated: His 33.6 points per game had again led the league for the 1989 90 season, but his Chicago Bulls had suffered another playoff exit to Isiah Thomas and those incessant Detroit Pistons. From the top of the key, Jordan would’ve given that wink, soared and let his tongue hang low, matching baby hook after baby hook with dunks for dollars. cheap jordans from china
cheap jordans online The Las Vegas Hilton Race and Sports SuperBook listed Jordan as a 2.5 to 1 favorite ahead of a half court battle that was also, you know, created for the bookies. cheap jordans online
cheap jordans on sale “Magic wouldn’t have been https://www.newapplemall.com able to stop him.”?ROD THORN”There was a lot of talk about it, and both players seemed to be real interested,” recalled Rod Thorn, who drafted Jordan as Chicago’s general manager before becoming the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations. “Magic wouldn’t have been able to stop him.” cheap jordans on sale
It was 1990, and the biggest mano a mano game in basketball historyotentially the first of many in the offseason shadow of the NBAad been hatched. Bizarre sports crossovers and contract loophole matchups were entering something of the pre boom time norm: In tennis, Jimmy Connors would battle Martina Navratilova; Barry Sanders and Ken Griffey Jr. entered a dunk contest; MTV had a burgeoning franchise in Rock N’ Jock, pitting the Violators against the Bricklayers.
A one on one basketball exhibition would hardly have been without precedent. That June, eight of Cheap jordans the top college players gathered at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, with Loyola Marymount’s Bo Kimble defeating Gary Payton of Oregon State to claim the $100,000 prize. With the draft just two days away up in New York, NBA personnel filed in amongst the crowd to take a last look at the prospects. But the event was a commercial flop; fewer than 50,000 fans ponied up the $12.95 to watch a mini tournament of lottery picks.
cheap Air max shoes Jordan against Johnson, though, was the best of the NBA’s best pitted singularly against each other. And several major media outlets had reported this sure bet as all but a done deal. At the very least, the two stars had been approached and the game’s payout had been negotiated. Both were intrigued, with Jordan even teasing the matchup on ESPN after the All Star break. cheap Air max shoes
“I think it’s very possible that it can [happen],” Jordan told Roy Firestone. “I think it’s very possible. It’s still a lot of strong feelings against, but I don’t see where it going to be prevented through a legal battle?
cheap jordans free shipping In the same interview, a knowing young Jordan also voiced hesitancies. cheap jordans on sale He knew The King of the Court had already turned into “more of a business proposition” than a game for bragging rights oregas forbidhe fans: cheap jordans free shipping
cheap jordan sneakers The negotiations turned into a headache for the NBAnd opportune marketers and promoters missed out on a lucrative paydayulminating years later in an antitrust lawsuit that, according to court documents obtained by B/R Mag, accused the league of paying the players’ union as much as $1.35 million to block such offseason matchups from then on. In between, that same young, not too cocky Jordan found himself contending with the union as he powered his own stardom toward the type of supremacy that would never so much as give anyone a shot against him one on one ever again. cheap jordan sneakers
You’d still be talking about the original King of the Court right now if the TV executives cheap yeezys had their way, because it could have been the pilot of an annual series: Duncan vs. Garnett, Kobe vs. LeBron, Westbrook vs. Curry, you name it. Instead, Jordan vs. Magic remains lost to memory of what may be the greatest basketball game never played.
cheap jordans shoes Lou DiBella and Seth Abraham had been cheap jordans for sale so dominant in managing pay per view boxing for HBO that, by the end of the 1980s, they set out in search of their next lucrative sporting moment?a truly monstrous event,” says DiBella, who was in charge of HBO Sports programming then. cheap jordans shoes
cheap air jordan “It would be difficult to generate enough money for a one off sort of event,” he tells B/R. “Launching onto regular TV, the pay per view might be a perfect way to do some kind of event in another sport that could rise to the magnitude that it would captivate people.” cheap air jordan
cheap jordans sale Abraham had been the vice president of sports programming for HBO before being installed as the head of Time Warner’s new sports division upon its inception in 1990. (Time Warner is the parent company of B/R.) Abraham and DiBella bounced around ideas for the cheap jordans shoes new entity’s breakout game before settling on the fantasy matchup of Jordan vs. Magic. If it sounds too good to be true, note that Abraham shared a relationship with then NBA Commissioner David Stern, and he was confident their bond could help bridge a deal that, he estimates, could have generated as much as $100 million in revenue. So he approached Johnson’s agent, too. cheap jordans sale
cheap air force Lon Rosen, the agent, says Johnson had a clause in his contract that allowed him to play sports outside of basketball. (“He could have been a football player at the time without getting permission,” Rosen says.) Jordan’s contract had cheap air force once included a “love of the game” provision that allowed him to play basketball anywhere or anytime during the offseason. cheap air force
The one on one game would have been a public fence mending in the stars’ evolving relationship. Jordan had admired the older Johnson but shot just 2 of 9 with seven points in his first All Star game, in 1985. That led to still Cheap jordans standing rumors of Detroit’s Isiah Thomas encouraging the Eastern Conference offense to freeze out Jordan, while Johnson allegedly got the Western Conference All Stars to play more aggressive defense against Jordan than a midseason exhibition deserved. (Thomas has long denied taking part in any All Star conspiracy; he did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.)
cheap nike shoes But it was the high stakes, one on one boxing world that brought the two NBA greats back together, three summers later, at the Mike Tyson Michael Spinks heavyweight fight in Atlantic City. cheap nike shoes
“It was really the first time they both ever really hung out,” Rosen says. “It was Charles Barkley, it was Magic, it was Charles Oakley. What’s interesting is it was sort of the beginning of their friendship.”
cheap jordans for sale Meanwhile, in Vegas, the higher ups at Caesars had always been game for trying new things in sportsotor racing, pro wrestling, even hockey in the desert. Rich Rose, the resort’s director of sports, put together the NHL’s first outdoor game 1991 exhibition between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings held in the hotel’s parking lot that would become an early test case for the lucrative, league approved Winter Classic that emerged decades later across baseball and football stadiums. Rose says his bosses were all in on hosting a potential Jordan Johnson bout. cheap jordans for sale
“While it wasn’t the Knicks and the Celtics or something,” he says, “it still had a lot of intrigue and interestnd excitement for the fans, and that’s what it’s about.”
It was about money as wellot just for HBO but for all involved.
cheap jordans china “When you do two million something pay per view buys, you’re generating $50 million,” DiBella says. cheap jordans china
Rosen relayed the King of the Court pitch to Johnson, whose camp maintained strong interest. But as news of the one on one idea spread, the players’ union voiced its opposition.
“I believe that this sets a bad precedent,” Thomas, who by 1990 had also cheap jordans from china become the National Basketball Players Association president, told cheap jordans free shipping reporters.
cheap yeezys NBC had just agreed to pay the league a record $601 million for four seasons of broadcasting rights; TNT had ponied up an additional $275 million. The league also did cheap jordans in china not want its players cheap jordan sneakers involved with a game tailor made for gambling. According to Rosen, Stern called him, asking that Johnson not participate. (Stern says he does not recall the conversation.) cheap yeezys.