Remember When Kenny Rogers Schooled Michael Jordan?
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For years, Kenny Rogers organized the Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend — a fundraising weekend that included basketball, tennis, fishing and golf competitions in edition to music and entertainment — near Athens, Ga. The events were loaded with A-listers, including Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in 1988. Video highlights show Rogers and Jordan competing on the hard wood, and the Gambler gets the best of him … at first.
The singer’s sweet fake comes just eight seconds in to this highlight reel. “Kenny Rogers puts Michael Jordan in the popcorn machine and hits a 21-footer,” a play-by-play man says as the hardly-at-capacity crowd goes wild. Bragging rights quickly go back to Jordan, however. The next clip shows His Airness swatting a feeble layup attempt from Rogers into the cheap seats.
While Jordan’s Red Team eventually beats Rogers’ and Dominique Wilkins’ White Team before losing to Bird’s Green Team, it’s clear that the then 50-year-old had some game. He drives and makes a Land O’Lakes-smooth layup at 37 seconds, then executes a sweet dish at 52 seconds. Thankfully, he wasn’t wearing those tight ’80s-era gym shorts.