Michael Jordan calls Grizzlies owner’s $1 million 1-on-1 charity challenge ‘comical’

Dan Devine
October 17, 2013

Bad news, you guys: I guess we won't be finding out whether Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera can beat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one after all.

(We pause here to allow the entire world to take a moment to process the attendant grief.)

I know, I know — it's heartbreaking to think that this one-on-one matchup between the 50-year-old Charlotte Bobcats owner/greatest basketball player and the 35-year-old Grizzlies owner/tech billionaire won't be coming to pass, especially since we've spent literally every waking second since three days ago thinking about it. But M.J.'s apparently just not feeling it, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:

Hours removed from the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies challenging Michael Jordan to a charity one-on-one game, MJ had a response:


[...] If new Grizzlies owner Robert Pera wants to play one-on-one for $1 million to charity (as he said on Twitter), Jordan won’t be his opponent.

"I think that’s comical," Jordan said. "It didn’t make any sense. Why would I play one one-on-one? It’s a no-win situation for me no matter what."

You can understand the thinking. If Jordan skunks Pera in no time flat, but still doesn't look like the guy we recall from the days of his Chicago Bulls greatness (or even his Washington Wizards quite-goodness), it might take a bit of the shine off the way people remember him; given the way we remember Jordan, I think that's unlikely, but anything's possible, I suppose. That obviously goes double for the prospect of Jordan not wiping out the Grizzlies' owner; again, this strikes me as highly improbable, but not necessarily impossible. (Again: 50 years old.)

I can see just one hole in Jordan's logic — if he won, Pera would donate $1 million to any charity Jordan selected, which seems like a nice win, doesn't it? I suppose technically that'd be a win for people who aren't Michael Jordan, though, keeping his "no-win situation for me" claim intact ... unless, of course, you value the prospective good will that might come from taking a few minutes out of your schedule to have a few laughs, school a Silicon Valley dude and give a sizable boost to an organization that might be able to use it.

That draw doesn't appear particularly compelling to Jordan, though, and that's his prerogative — one would suspect it's not all that hard for him to find a number of other ways of contributing lots of money to charitable ventures besides playing one-on-one, and if he responded to every challenge from everyone who wanted to see if they could give him a run, he probably wouldn't have time to do anything else in his life. (Like preside over the least successful franchise in the NBA.) As easy as it is for us sports fans to believe we know best how to spend owners' money, it's just as easy to do the same with their time; maybe it's worth giving Jordan the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how he chooses to spend his.

For what it's worth, Pera seemed to take the dismissal in stride:

So it all ends, it seems, with a reminder that this was a discussion about the idle musings of two obscenely rich guys. "Comical," indeed. (Just like most other "who'd win a game of one-on-one?" stories.)

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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