Brownell on Michael Jordan: ‘You kinda almost forgot how spectacular he was’

Brownell on Michael Jordan: ‘You kinda almost forgot how spectacular he was’


Brownell on Michael Jordan: ‘You kinda almost forgot how spectacular he was’


Clemson's 1983 classic against Jordan airs Saturday on ACCN

When he thinks of Michael Jordan, the first thing Brad Brownell remembers about the NBA’s greatest player was not his game-winning shots and six World Championships for the Chicago Bulls. Nope, it was Jordan’s corner jumper in the closing seconds to beat Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA Tournament Championship Game.

Of course, Jordan was a freshman for Dean Smith’s North Carolina Tar Heels in 1982.

“That was my first real memory of him. I think I was in the eighth grade or something,” Brownell said earlier this week to The Clemson Insider.

Like every basketball enthusiast, Brownell has watched ESPN’s documentary series on Jordan which chronicles his last season with the Bulls in 1998, as well as flashes back to other moments during the superstar’s legendary career in the game of basketball.

In episodes one and two of “The Last Dance” the documentary took us all back to Jordan’s college days at UNC and even included some footage from the three games he played at Clemson. Also, former Clemson great Horace Grant has been featured several times in the documentary.

Grant, who was the 1986-’87 ACC Player of the Year, was a teammate of Jordan’s from 1987-’93 in Chicago. He teamed up with Jordan and Scottie Pippen to win the first three of the Bulls’ six NBA Championships. Grant was the No. 10 overall pick by Chicago in the 1987 NBA Draft.

“I think the documentary has been unbelievable, obviously,” Brownell said. “It has given you tremendous insight into the Bulls and all the things that went on between Isaiah (Thomas), Pippen, (Dennis) Rodman and all of that kind of stuff.

“But just to find out more about Jordan and how competitive he was and what made him tick, has been great.”

Jordan and the Tar Heels played at Clemson in 1982, ’83 and ’84. The Tar Heels won all three games, but the 1983 game was a classic as top-ranked UNC needed all 24 of Jordan’s points to edge Clemson, 84-81. The 1983 game, as a matter of fact, will be a feature game on the ACC Network Saturday at 2 p.m., as the network replays Jordan’s greatest college games.

Brownell says the best thing about watching the “The Last Dance” documentaries is to see and listen to his players’ responses. Brownell says they have a group text message going on as they watch the episodes.

“None of those guys really know him or saw him,” the Clemson coach said. “It has been fun to see their responses and their thoughts as they watch it. To be honest with you, even for me to be able to relive some of his moments … you kinda almost forgot how spectacular he was. Some of the plays he made were incredible. He might be the greatest competitor in team sports.”

The final two episodes of “The Last Dance” will air Sunday on ESPN starting at 9 p.m.

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