Michael Jordan was irate after losing a game of ping-pong to Christian Laettner and immediately started to practice to beat him.
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players of all time, if not the greatest, and he didn’t reach such a status by being complacent. Jordan looked to be the best at nearly every single thing that he did. Whether it was a measly game of tossing quarters at a wall with a Chicago Bulls security guard or golf, Michael was always trying to win.
Winning championships and collecting accolades on a yearly basis would certainly make anyone feel as though they were destined for greatness in facets of life that weren’t limited to a singular field. Michael Jordan certainly felt this way, as evident by the way he’s built an empire for himself through savvy business endeavors.
Stories of how the 6x champ maniacally competed with any and everybody are always a fun read. The fact that he competed the way he did against people who were clearly lesser to than him is what makes his drive to win at everything even more enjoyable to see.
Michael Jordan trained hard to beat Christian Laettner at ping-pong.
Laettner was a surprise inclusion for many to have been on the Dream Team. He played the second fewest minutes a game during that 1992 summer, ahead of only John Stockton. Michael Jordan would get matched up against the Duke product at a heated game of ping-pong one day, as said by photographer, Nat Butler.
“Michael is playing ping-pong, sweating, like 4th quarter at-the-free-throw-line kind of sweat. For some reason, Laettner beat him. He [Jordan] threw his paddle. He didn’t talk for two days to anyone. Come to find out, he had a ping-pong table delivered up to his room.”
“No one knew about it. And he was practicing for the rematch. They had a rematch two days later, three days later. It was like 21-4. He destroyed him,” said Butler on the incident.
There were absolutely no stakes attached to this ping-pong battle he had with Laettner and yet, Michael Jordan felt as though he had something to prove. Makes sense as to why he’s widely considered to be the greatest of all time.