Michael Jordan answered some questions as part of his Flight School camp in Santa Barbara, California. The 52-year-old was asked about playing LeBron James in a game of one-on-one, Phil Jackson or Dean Smith as coach, and much much more. Transribe via ESPN:
If I had to play one game, who would I want to coach: Phil Jackson or Dean Smith?
“Dean Smith. [Some audible gasps/murmurs.] Fortunately Dean Smith helped me become the basketball player I am today. Phil was lucky because I was taught the game by Dean Smith.”
How did I feel when the Detroit Pistons walked off after we beat them in 1991 [in a 4-0 sweep in the Eastern Conference finals]?
“I felt fine. I felt accomplished. We beat them and they felt ashamed about us beating them. I felt like it was bad sportsmanship. I would not advise you guys to do that. You’ve got to be able to lose in grace and win in grace — so don’t walk off the court. Even though you hate losing, that’s just bad sportsmanship if you do that.”
Biggest trash-talker I ever played against?
“Probably Larry Bird. He talks a lot of trash. Good trash, though, not dirty trash. Good trash.”
What did I think about when Shaq said that the all-time five of the greatest Lakers could beat the Bulls’ five greatest players?
“I just felt like he was just talking. It’s a debate. The thing is that we would never know. I think we would have killed them. He thinks they would have killed us. You guys decide. It’s just a debate.”
“Favorite player to play pick-up games with?”
“My best pick-up game I’ve ever played was the games and the practices with the  Dream Team. … My team was myself, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and Chris Mullin. We played against Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, David Robinson — that’s five, right? — and we killed ’em.
Note: That’s not five; the other player team’s fifth had to be either Karl Malone, John Stockton or Christian Laettner. There’s also a chance Jordan is misremembering a bit, and he’s talking about this scrimmage covered in-depth by Sports Illustrated, which featured a Jordan-Malone-Ewing-Pippen-Bird five against Magic, Barkley, Robinson, Mullin and Laettner (although a 40-36 final score in favor of Jordan’s team hardly constitutes a “killing.”)
If I had the chance to go one-on-one with Steph Curry or LeBron, which one would I choose to go one-on-one with?
“Right now, or when I was in my prime? Right now? Buddy, I couldn’t beat — well, I’d go against [Stephen] Curry because I’m a little bit bigger than him. So I could kind of back him in. But LeBron is a little bit too big.”
[Note: Take that, 34 percent of America.]
If I had a chance to add another member to team Jordan, who would I hire?
“I’m a big fan of [Mike] Trout, the baseball player. I absolutely love him. I wish I could hire him. But he’s Nike, so I can’t steal Nike’s guys.”
This is the ESPN question. I know it’s going to be all over ESPN. [Note: He was right.]If I was in my prime, could I beat LeBron in a one-on-one game?
[Long pause in which the campers mutter/shout their opinions.]
What did I see in Kwame Brown when I drafted him [No. 1 overall for the Washington Wizards in 2001]?
“I, along with everybody that was in that draft room, wanted Kwame Brown because of his athleticism, his size, his speed. He was still a young talent, 18-year-old, 19-year-old kid.”
If you went back and you couldn’t play basketball or baseball, what sport would you play?
“Great question. I went to college, I got my degree in cultural geography, and everybody wanted to know what is cultural geography? Well it’s an introduction to meteorology. I always wanted to be the weather man. Don’t laugh. But that’s what I really wanted to do. So if I wasn’t playing basketball or baseball, I was going to tell you what the weather was going to be like tomorrow.”
[Note: Don’t think meteorology is a sport? Tell that to Jim Cantore!]
What kind of advice would I give Kobe Bryant?
[Uncomfortable laughter in the crowd.]
“Actually, Kobe and I are good friends. I like Kobe, we talk a lot, I hope he comes back healthy. I think he’s one of the great players of the game, I think he’s done a lot for the game, and he has a true love for the game of basketball. I absolutely have high regard for Kobe Bryant.
“Even though he stole all my moves, but that’s OK. I still love him like a brother.”