In 2000, Michael Jordan was a year removed after retiring from the NBA a second time following his sixth championship with the Bulls. MJ wouldn’t return to the Association as a player until 2001 with the Wizards, but there’s video of him playing in the interval between that second comeback in an incredibly bizarre Japanese game show.
The show, Pro Sportsman, is produced by the same people who made the original version of Ninja Warrior. In the version that subsequently made its way to Japanese television, MJ is tasked with two different iterations of the game “9 Hoops.” That game is pretty self-explanatory based on the title — Jordan has to make a shot in nine different hoops.
However, the two contests he ends up playing aren’t quite that simple. The game is harder than it looks. In the first one, the nine various hoops are moving around the backboard. Even the greatest basketball player of all-time fails at connecting on nine shots in his 12 attempts.
In the second game in which Jordan participates, called “9 Hoops Hide,” the wobbly baskets don’t move, but are placed at various heights and angles, which makes it even more difficult to connect. This time around, MJ’s competitive edge wouldn’t let him accept a second defeat. He cleared the ninth hoop on his final shot to win the game. According to at least one online source, Jordan is the only documented player to have beaten 9 Hoops Hide.
To make it even better for MJ, who has been known to place a wager every now and then, he won 200,000 yen on the show. Unfortunately, that’s only about $2,450 in American currency. Still, it’s an impressive way to spend an offseason and it’s clear from the intensity he displays that he’s still hungering for competition. Just ask any player on the Wizards from 2001 to 2003.
Someone set this game up for Steph Curry at a Warriors’ practice, ASAP.