Michael Jordan wanted to beat one ACC team more than any other – 247Sports

Posted: May 20, 2020 at 4:49 am


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If there's one thing that was further cemented during ESPN's acclaimed docuseries "The Last Dance", it's the fact that Michael Jordan's competitive drive and will to win is unmatched. And used every ounce of motivation, bulletin board material or whatever you want to call it to get there along the way.

Jordan's enemies on the court was fuel to his fire, as the 10-episode documentary showed. Whether it was the night George Karl walked past his table at a restaurant or Karl Malone's NBA MVP award during the 1997 season, when Jordan felt slighted, he was often at his best.

According to Washington City Paper, there was one school Jordan wanted to beat more than any other during his playing days at the University of North Carolina. Former ACC rival Maryland, a fellow basketball blueblood, was led by star Adrian Branch during Jordan's tenure in Chapel Hill and the two went after it every time they met.

"At North Carolina Jordan maintained an intense interest to play against Maryland more than any other team in the ACC, (Buzz) Peterson claims," writes Dave Ungrady. "It originated from what Jordan considered a slight against him at the 1981 McDonalds All-American game in Wichita, Kansas. In the game, Jordan scored 30 points, including game-winning free throws with 11 seconds remaining to help the East All-Stars beat the West All-Stars, 96-95.

"Jordan converted 13-of-19 field goals, made all four of his free throws and recorded six steals and four assists. But Maryland commit Adrian Branch, who grew up in Seat Pleasant and attended DeMatha Catholic High School, was voted a co-MVP of the game in Wichita along with Aubrey Sherrod. Jordan used the incident as a consistent motivational force against the Terps."

Before choosing to play for Dean Smith and the Tar Heels, Jordan considered an offer from Maryland legend Lefty Driesell. But the future NCAA champion and six-time NBA Finals MVP didn't appreciate how it was presented to him along with Peterson and Jeff Adkins.

He says, Ive got one scholarship left, and the first one who takes it gets it, Peterson, Jordan's roommate at North Carolina told Washington City Paper. "He was interested in Maryland. Maryland was one that he would talk about."

Jordan would end up going 5-1 against the Terps during his career at North Carolina.

You cant knock his success, God bless him and his family. But all that super-suit, Jordan stuff dont fly over here. We wanted them as badly as they wanted us. Wed shake their hands win or lose. It was a healthy competitive respect. But no love lost," Branch said. "When he came to town, we were ready with one foot down, and another foot up. We werent no passive dudes.

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Michael Jordan wanted to beat one ACC team more than any other - 247Sports

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May 20th, 2020 at 4:49 am

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