Michael Jordan has always been known for his relentless work ethic.
A legendary former teammate, George Gervin, gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the six-time NBA champion’s life.
Gervin himself is an NBA Hall of Famer and a member of the league’s 50th and 75th Anniversary teams, playing alongside some of the greatest players in history during his long career.
During his 14-year career in the United States, he was a teammate of Julius Erving on the ABA’s Virginia Squires and played against players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
In his final season in the NBA, Gervin chose to head north and join the Chicago Bulls, where he would play alongside one MJ.
In just his second season after being drafted third overall out of the University of North Carolina, Jordan was already an All-Star, second-team All-NBA, and reigning Rookie of the Year.
According to an interview with WEMU 89.1, the closer look gave Gervin, who debuted in 1972, a chance to see “how the sport evolved” in the mid-1980s.
“Look at (Jordan) as a second-year player and look at how dominant his approach to winning was,” he said.
“He’s been playing hard. He’s been playing hard in practice. He’s been playing just as hard in practice as he is in basketball games.
“I saw the potential in him. It was scary. I never knew he could be this great, but I saw the potential in him. It’s incredible.”
Not surprisingly, Gervin admitted that “being a part of it starting with Michael and starting my career with Julius Erving is special to me.”
But when it comes to nominating an all-time great, Gervin, who is uniquely qualified to speak out given his experience, remains hesitant.
“They were both great,” he said, adding: “You know, we played in two different eras. They’re both going to be recognized forever in basketball history.”
Gervin himself left the United States in 1986 to spend one season in Italy before returning to the United States with the CBA in 1989 to play for the Quad-City Thunder.
A year in Spain followed before returning to his old team, the San Antonio Spurs, as coach in 1992.
Three years later, he founded George Gervin College in San Antonio, while he also continued to build nursing homes for low-income people.