Before ‘The Last Dance,’ Michael Jordan could have joined the Celtics
It would have been the kind of move legendary Boston Celtics team president Red Auerbach was known for — and the opposite of what the man who tried to pull it off is remembered as. © Provided by CelticsWire
In 1995, while Michael Jordan was out of the NBA playing minor-league baseball, newly-hired Celtics head honcho M.L. Carr attempted a power play that would have transformed the fortunes of the Massachusetts franchise that instead famously fell into a tailspin under his tenure.
To be fair, what Carr did was intentional — that the losses continued many season beyond when they should have ceased, less so.
Yup, I’m pretty sure it was Steve Levy that reported this on Sportscenter. I’ll never forget seeing Jordan in that old school SC graphic with the Celtics logo behind him and feeling giddy over the thought of him and Dominique in green https://t.co/EPwT07mNTI— Greg Story (@StoryThruVideo) May 18, 2020
But that version of Celtics history very possibly could have gone quite different, though the moves which preceded it did bring one Boston veteran another ring as a result, ironically.
Signing Wilkins made a return for team stalwart Robert Parish impossible, and after a stint with the Charlotte Hornets, he would win one more ring with Jordan in Chicago in 1997.
Carr, shortly after securing the services of an aging Dominique Wilkins as one of his first acts as team president, made a call to Chicago Bulls vice president Jerry Krause, and asked permission to speak to Jordan about signing with the Celtics.
“I was dead serious,” said Carr via the New York Times. “I don’t know how serious Krause was. But if I had a chance to talk with Michael Jordan, I’d give up a first-round draft choice … I just threw the idea up one time on the phone. He probably thought I was crazy. The offer is out there. I’d like him to call and tell me I could talk to Jordan.”
Alas, history has since demonstrated conclusively that whatever happened behind the scenes, it did not turn out in Boston’s favor.
“You may think it’s far-fetched but you don’t know what he’s thinking,” said the then-Celtics GM. “I’ll shag balls for him. I’ll do anything. Please, Michael, come to Boston.”
We still don’t know what he thought of the proposal. We may never.
But oh, how the 1990s (and most of the 2000s) might have been.