CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With a resurgence of interest again for Michael Jordan, thanks to the 10-part TV series “The Last Dance,” Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona decided to share his unique connection to the NBA legend.
Many sports enthusiasts may know that Jordan’s manager when the basketball star attempted to become a professional baseball player in 1994 was Terry Francona; the present-day manager of the Indians.
Francona, who managed the Double-A Birmingham Barons at the time, said he held a pickup basketball game outside of his Alabama apartment following a four-hour bus ride home.
“Tito” said he was fortunate to have Jordan on his team for the friendly scrimmage between other coaching staff members and neighbors.
According to Francona, one of the players from the neighborhood seemed to challenge Jordan and was getting physical with the now-NBA Hall of Famer, which didn’t end well for the guy who’s never played professional basketball.
“He got to about the top of the key with the ball in the crook of his arm and he pointed to the guy and said, ‘I’m going right there.’ And I remember thinking, ‘Uh-oh, this is not gonna be good.’ So I went over to set a pick and he looked at me and said, ‘Get outta here.’ So I went over back to where I was. He took one dribble, left the ground, and the next thing you know, the rim is bent. He slammed the ball through the chain net. He was standing over the guy who he knocked down. And he said, ‘Don’t ever talk to me in my house.’ And I said, ‘Game’s over!'"
Francona also said Jordan threw him a hard pass during the game and actually dislocated his finger.
“I kind of quietly put it back where it was supposed to be,” Francona said.
After the stint in the minors, Jordan returned to basketball to continue a legendary career, while Francona moved his way up to the major leagues to win multiple World Series championships.