Whether its Game 7 of the NBA Finals, a locker room penny-throwing game, or Dominoes (like the game, not the pizza) with comedian Anthony Anderson, Michael Jordan doesn’t like to lose.
In a conversation with Conan O’Brien on the “Need a Friend” podcast (45-minute mark), Anderson retold a truly fantastic story that underlines the GOAT’s ultra-competitive personality. The two first met while on a trip in the Bahamas, and when Anderson first crossed Jordan’s path, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to challenge him to a game of dominoes. A long-time Jordan fan, Anderson had his own Jumpman dominoes set, and simply looked forward to the opportunity of a friendly contest with one of his heroes.
However, Anderson came to learn … quickly … that any game with Jordan is bound to be the opposite of friendly:
“He said, ‘How did you get those [Anderson’s Jumpan Dominoes]?’ I was like, ‘Don’t worry about how I got them. I got them because I consider myself the MJ of dominoes, and I’d like to play you.’
And he turned to my wife and he said, ‘sweetheart, I suggest you go to the bank and take out as much money as you can because after I whip his ass, he will not be able to provide for you and your children.’
And I was like, ‘I just wanted a friendly game of bones with my basketball hero!'”
Anderson went on the recount an epic battle between him, Jordan, Ahmad Rashad, and another friend of Jordan’s where – unsurprisingly – Jordan found himself with a big lead early. Then, it was Anderson’s time to shine.
He held Jordan off from scoring his needed 25 points to win and found himself in a position to pull off the W.
“I’m talking so much trash that before I Domino, I say, ‘MJ, I wish me and my wife could go upstairs and make another baby right now because we would name him or her MJ just so we can relive this moment right now. And my baby would get older and say, ‘Daddy, why did you name me MJ?’ And I could relive the moment where I just whipped your ass!”
How did Jordan respond to all of this? Well, after losing one more round to Anderson (who must really be the MJ of dominoes), Jordan wouldn’t talk to the man for the next three days. However, I guess over that time he grew some kind of respect for Anderson because the two remain very close friends to this day.
The lessons learned: (1) Jordan is never not competitive, and (2) if you want to become his close friend, you just have to kick his ass in something while talking some serious trash. Noted.