Ex-Bulls Center Mike Brown Talks Playing with Michael Jordan, 'The Last Dance'May 3, 2020
Former Chicago Bulls center Mike Brown met Michael Jordan before he was Michael Jordan, as the two attended the Five-Star Basketball camp as high school juniors.
Brown then joined Jordan with the Bulls during the 1986-87 and '87-88 seasons.
"Jordan was a good guy, down to earth," Brown told Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune for a story published Sunday. "I just felt bad for him because he really couldn't go anywhere he wanted to—because people just went crazy when they saw him."
The 56-year-old continued:
"He would have to go to the supermarket 15 minutes before it closed and make a deal with management that he could shop longer than the store hours, because he couldn't just go in like a normal guy.
"I've only seen two people like that, and that was Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson. I went by his house and people are just sitting outside of his gate, waiting to see if the gate is going to open and the car is going to drive by. I had never seen nothing like it. With Jordan, if he crossed the street, he could actually cause a car accident, because people would be like, 'Oh my goodness, Michael Jordan!' and lose sight of the road."
Brown was selected by the Bulls in the third round of the 1985 NBA draft after Chicago had drafted Jordan third overall in 1984. Brown's playing career is largely remembered for his five seasons as a reserve center for the Karl Malone- and John Stockton-led Utah Jazz from 1988 through 1993.
Brown's relationship with Jordan has re-emerged as a topic of interest because of The Last Dance, ESPN's 10-part documentary series illuminating His Airness and the 1997-98 Bulls. The project's first two episodes debuted on April 19, and there will be two new episodes dropping every Sunday night through May 17.
Brown explained to Walden how he is experiencing The Last Dance:
"After the first episode, I didn't watch, but I got about eight texts. And guys is like, 'Hey! I see you at practice! I see you at practice!' They explained to me where I popped up in The Last Dance. They said, 'Jordan made an and-one and then he ran over to the sideline and gave you a high-five!' People were telling me all about it. So what I did, I taped [episodes] 3 and 4, and you know, since my daughter's a hooper, and we got a bunch of time here with the quarantine, we're gonna sit down and watch it."
The 1997-98 Bulls defeated the Jazz 4-2 in the NBA Finals to capture their sixth championship since 1991.
That season marked the end of Chicago's dynasty as Jordan announced his second retirement from basketball—he later returned one more time for a stint in Washington from 2001 through 2003—and Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, moved on to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.
Head coach Phil Jackson took the 1998-99 campaign off before becoming the Lakers head coach from 1999 through 2011.
Brown played for the Minnesota Timberwolves (1993-95), Philadelphia 76ers (1995-96) and Phoenix Suns (1996-97) before walking away from the game.