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The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw
JACK MCCALLUM
July 02, 2012
The toughest competition faced by the best team in basketball history was, in fact, its own: at a closed scrimmage in Monaco between sides led by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, the details of which remained a secret for nearly 20 years
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July 02, 2012

The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw

The toughest competition faced by the best team in basketball history was, in fact, its own: at a closed scrimmage in Monaco between sides led by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, the details of which remained a secret for nearly 20 years

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Johnson's Blue Team 20, Jordan's White Team 17.

Bird grabs the rebound off a missed Robinson shot, and Jordan cans a jumper to bring White within one. Magic, still determined to make this a one-on-one contest, spins into the lane and misses badly. Barkley is starting to get irritated at Magic's one-on-one play and will later complain to Jordan and Pippen about it. Jordan races downcourt with Pippen to the left and Ewing to the right. You know where this is headed. Pippen catches the ball and throws down a ferocious lefthanded dunk.

Jordan's White Team 21, Johnson's Blue Team 20.

Mullin drives and draws a reach-in foul on Pippen. "Wasn't that all ball?" says Jordan. Mullin makes one free throw, misses the next.

Jordan drives the lane, and Magic, now visibly tired, gets picked off. Robinson, the help defender, is whistled for a foul. After Jordan misses the first, Magic knocks the ball high in the air—a technical in the NBA, but who cares?—and keeps jawing. "Let's concentrate," hollers Daly, trying to keep everyone's mind on the business at hand.

Jordan makes the second.

Jordan's White Team 22, Johnson's Blue Team 21.

Malone comes down hard on his right ankle after making a layup off an assist from Jordan. His bad mood has grown worse. Malone walks it off—a normal man would've gone for ice—as Pippen and Bird come over to slap palms and Jordan yells, "Way to go, Karl."

Jordan's White Team 24, Johnson's Blue Team 21.

In March 1992, a few months before the Dream Team got together, I asked coaches and general managers around the league this question: If you were starting a team and could take either Malone or Barkley, which one would you select? Malone-Barkley had the ingredients of a Magic-or-Larry debate. Mr. Olympia vs. the Round Mound of Rebound. Mr. Reliable vs. Mr. We Hope He Isn't in a Bar Sending a Drunk Through a Window.

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