Rod Higgins, Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin, who all were a part of the Warriors teams in the early 1990s, said on NBC Sports’ Sports “Uncovered” podcast that prior to Jordan’s practices with the Bulls and subsequent two-word “I’m back” announcement in 1995, His Airness spent time practicing with Golden State over a two-day period — and whooped some butt in the process.I think it was 1994, Michael came out to California to visit, which he would often do. He would come out to California a lot, and he would come to visit, whether it was in the Bay Area, he would come out to the West Coast quite often. And so this particular time after he had been retired now for a while I guess, it was football season. The 49ers were in season, Richard Dent, if I can recall this correctly, I think was a 49er at the time who happens to also be a close friend of Michael’s. So Michael comes out to the Bay Area and visits for a few days and just enjoy Northern California.So one morning, while Michael was visiting, he calls and asks me, it was early in the morning — I was on my way, ’cause I was an assistant coach for Don Nelson I was on my way to practice — he called and said, ‘Do you think it’s OK if I practice with you guys?’ And then I said, ‘I don’t think so, but let me call Nelly — that’s what we called Don Nelson — let me call Nelly and I’ll get back to you.I call Nelly and I asked Nelly if you know, if it’s OK, if there’s gonna be any issues. Michael wants to know if he can practice with us. Nelly’s response was “Hell, yeah.”He came in and we dressed him out, Eric Housen dressed him out in Warrior gear. He might have given him 23, I don’t think anyone was wearing 23 at the time, but gave him his wrist band to put on his elbow and things of that nature.MORE: Seven “The Last Dance” topics we wanted more ofHiggins said the team warmed up and decided to scrimmage with Jordan on the court. Hardaway said that Jordan took the Warriors to a new level during the team’s practices over the two-day period.”He came in and he ramped up the practice, and we had closed off practice in the Coliseum. We knew he was coming back then,” Hardaway said. “He just took over our practice, just took over our practice.”He got the five guys that wasn’t playing that much and he said, ‘I take us seven to play you all seven in a scrimmage.’ It was like he never left.”As it is with the Jordan mentality, No. 23 found motivation to dominate in the most unlikely areas. During one scrimmage, Jordan was adamant that he wanted to play against Hardaway and rising NBA star Latrell Sprewell, and alongside Dream Team cohort Chris Mullin. According to Higgins, Jordan’s main goal was to “kick Spre and Tim’s behind and talk trash to them.” Per Jordan trainer Tim Grover, the desire to “kick Latrell Sprewell’s ass” was a motivating factor for Jordan, but he wanted more to prove to himself that he could still play against younger stars. And if the accounts and descriptions of the practices are accurate — as they all seem to be — then they were definitely a factor in Jordan wanting to return to the NBA.”He was a Warrior for 48 hours,” Higgins said. Long before Kevin Durant announced his next move, before Stephen Curry was drafted and before the team blew a 3-1 lead, Michael Jordan was a member of the Golden State Warriors.Kind of. “What I remember is him walking on the court, after not playing, probably playing 36 holes of golf the day before, walking on the court and dominating,” Mullin added. ” … I always knew he was coming back.”Later, after the clandestine practices with the Warriors, Jordan began to take the court again with the Bulls, and the rest, as they say, is history. Jordan and the Bulls would go on to win three more championships following his return to the court.A lineup featuring Jordan, Sprewell, Hardaway, Mullin and would have been pretty, pretty fun, though.
Michael Jordan: Golden State Warrior? It happened — kind of