There are countless stories highlighting Michael Jordan’s virtually unparalleled competitive nature as well as plenty of tales concerning his well-documented love of gambling on the golf course—and one that Danny Ainge recently shared checks both of those boxes.
Ainge was drafted by the Celtics three years before the Bulls selected Jordan with the third overall pick, and in 1986, the two men found themselves facing off against each other in the NBA Playoffs for the first time when Boston and Chicago met in the first round.
The Celtics ended up sweeping the Bulls in three games and went on to win the championship, but Jordan did what he could to contribute to Chicago’s cause. That includes the 63 points he posted in Game Two (where Ainge and Co. nonetheless won by a score of 135-131 in double overtime), which set an NBA postseason record no one has been able to top.
Now, M.J.’s will to win was probably the primary factor in his output in that contest, but based on what Ainge had to say about what transpired on the golf course the day before it took place during a recent appearance on the Knuckleheads Podcast, the Celtics guard may have given his opponent some extra motivation after walking away with some money on the links at the expense of His Airness.
Ainge recalled what went down, saying:
“I played golf with Michael on the Saturday before that Sunday game. We played 36 holes and I took a little bit of money from Michael that day. That might have been a big mistake.
As I got out of the car, he says, ‘Hey, tell [Celtics point guard Dennis Johnson] I’ve got something for him tomorrow; D.J. picked up his fifth foul like four minutes into the third quarter, so I got a good chunk of that 63.”
Hell hath no fury like Michael Jordan scorned.