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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t think he would lose. Not in 1-on-1. Not to a 50-year-old guy.
He was wrong.
But hey, at least that 50-year-old guy was His Airness, Michael Jordan.
Kidd-Gilchrist, 19, said the 1-on-1 game between he and Jordan, who is the majority owner of the Bobcats, the team for which Kidd-Gilchrist plays, happened about a month ago after a practice.
“He did play me 1-on-1 one time,” Kidd-Gilchrist said on Friday morning before playing on Team Shaq in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night. “And it was hard for me … I lost. I lost to a 50-year-old guy. That’s my boss, though. He’s the best player to play the game.”
But Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t lose to a 50-year-old. He lost to a 49-year-old. Jordan doesn’t turn 50 until Sunday.
"Yeah. Of course," he said when asked if he thought he was going to beat Jordan. "I don’t think I’m gonna lose. I mean, he is 50."
Did Kidd-Gilchrist even really lose, though. Or did he let his boss beat him?
“No,” he said emphatically. “No. I didn’t allow him to beat me. Because that’s my boss? Nah.”
Jordan recently talked about trying to get back down to his playing weight with Wright Thompson for an in-depth ESPN story. The story, along with the well-known competitive nature of Jordan, has sparked some debate and rumors about a possible comeback for Jordan, who is already in the Hall of Fame.
“That wouldn’t shock me at all,” Kidd-Gilchrist said about a possible Jordan comeback. “He still has it. He does.”
But it’s hard for Kidd-Gilchrist to know if he still has it because he doesn’t even remember watching Jordan play. Kidd-Gilchrist is just 19. He was born in 1993, so he can’t remember watching Jordan even on TV. But he’s seen videos and he’s heard from his family members about how great Jordan was.
And then there are the sneakers. He grew up wearing the Jordan sneakers, standing in lines to snatch the latest Air Jordans as they hit the shelves. Then, in September, Jordan Brand signed Kidd-Gilchrist to a deal. He joked that he still stands in line for sneakers but he doesn’t have to do that anymore.
So maybe he never got to see Jordan in his prime, as the best player in the NBA. But maybe he doesn’t really need to remember. After all, he’s wearing the sneakers, playing in his arena and, yes, even losing to him on the floor.
“It’s a big honor,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “It’s a big honor for me to be around him. Everyday in the locker room, I see him and stuff. It’s a big honor.”