Thanks to ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” it’s prime season for mythical Michael Jordan stories. One of his assistant coaches at North Carolina threw another one out there on Tuesday.
Current UNC head coach Roy Williams, an assistant under Dean Smith during Jordan’s college career, recounted an incredible display of Jordan’s athleticism to Colin Cowherd on Tuesday’s “The Herd”.
The set-up was a team practice shortly before Jordan’s sophomore season, in which players’ heights, weights and 40-yard dashes were recorded to track their growth. Jordan, who had recently hit a shot to win a national championship, took part and blew the coaches away.
From The Herd:
His freshman year, he was really athletic and fast. He was like a 4.5. I’ll never forget this, his sophomore year, he ran the 40-yard. Me and coach [Bill] Guthridge and our trainer Mark Karns. We all three had hand stopwatches. We’re not professional timers by any means, but he crossed the line, I looked and I said, ‘Wow. Coach Guthridge, what’d you get?’ He looked at me and Mark said, ‘I got 4.39.’ And coach Guthridge said, ‘I got 4.38.’ And I said, ‘I did too.’
“I said, ‘Michael, we missed your start, made a mistake. Come on, I need you to run it again.’ He said, ‘Too fast for you, huh?’ He goes back to the line, runs it again, and all of us got below 4.4. As a sophomore, he went from 6-foot-4 and a half to 6-foot-6 and got faster.”
An unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash. At 6-foot-6 and nearly 200 pounds. To go with this vertical jump.
For reference, only four players at this year’s NFL combine recorded a 40-yard dash faster than 4.38, and they averaged a height and weight of 5-foot-11 and 186.5 pounds. And that was likely after intense preparations for the dash.
At 6-foot-6 and a 4.38 40-yard dash, Jordan’s reported time would be more comparable to that of Calvin Johnson, who blew the roof off the 2007 combine with a 4.35 40-yard time at 6-foot-5. Of course, Johnson was also carrying 239 pounds compared to Jordan’s listed 195. Even among the elite of the elite, Megatron was a rare athlete.
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