Michael Jordan and Steph Curry have a lot in common.
The two played college in North Carolina, they were both lower in the NBA draft than they should have, they both revolutionized the game of basketball and all two wanted to come back from their injuries before their respective teams thought they were ready.
Curry broke his left hand last October and looked set to return in February. But the Warriors held it until March 5.
Back in Jordan’s second season, he broke his left foot in the third game of the year. It was just against the Warriors.
“I was devastated because I was never injured and I’m in a cast,” said Jordan in the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” on Sunday. “There was nothing I could do, I was anxious. I’m pretty sure I was irritable for a lot of people. “
Jordan would end up missing a total of 64 games, but before he started rehabilitating with the Bulls, he went to the North Carolina campus and secretly played games for a week.
“I was anxious to do something, so I convinced the Bulls to let me go back to college,” said Jordan. “I just started going to the gym. And then I started playing 1 on 1, then I started playing 2 on 2, then I started playing 3 on 3. The next thing you know, I play 5 against 5 and the Bulls never knew I was doing it. And when I came back with the Bulls, my calf muscles and my injured calf were stronger than my uninjured calf. So they first said: were you doing? “
That’s when Jordan, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the team’s doctors met to discuss when he could play again.
“It depends on how bad the headache is!” “
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 20, 2020
Jordan wanted to play, but the Bulls didn’t want him to play. In the end, they agreed to let him play, but with a minute restriction: seven minutes by half. 14 minutes per game.
Jordan understood that the Bulls, who were 24-43 when he returned, were trying to lose games in order to get a better draft pick. Despite their desire to miss the playoffs, the Bulls ended up winning the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-52.
When Curry suffered his left hand fracture against the Suns on October 31, there were whispers that the Warriors could tank to ensure the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020. After all, Curry was going to miss four month, Klay Thompson had to miss the whole 2019-2020 season, Kevin Durant had fled to Brooklyn and the D’Angelo Russell experience was not working.
Owner Joe Lacob and several players categorically denied that the Warriors were charging, but seeing a video of the Curry shot coupled with the team saying it was not ready did not match.
Even when Curry came back against the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors still lost. When the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were in possession of a record 15 to 50, the worst in the NBA.
Although Jordan’s return helped the Bulls advance to the playoffs, the Warriors were so far from the playoff run, they would be knocked out five days after Curry returned.