The good folks over at Deadspin received an email from a tipster recently who claimed to have second-hand knowledge of stories told by the recently-deceased former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach during a dinner (and really, if that isn't a reliable source, what is?!). Bach was an important member of Phil Jackson's staff during Chicago's first three-peat run before he moved on to assistant coaching jobs with the Hornets, Pistons, and Wizards. Some of the stories are ones we've heard before, like the Muggsy Bogues midget story, but said tipster came through with a few other crazy tales that were allegedly told during that dinner.
How true are they? Well, there's simply no way of knowing. Like all great sports rumors, so much time has passed now that we'll probably never know the real stories. But we'll let you be the judge of how much truth is hidden in each of them. Check out some of the anecdotes Bach allegedly told below (and then head over to Deadspin to check out the rest).
On Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen's off-the-court rivalry:
"Nothing but respect for Pippen. Great teammate. Great player. He was a thug when he came into the league, but really came around and they talk regularly now. Pippen and Jordan together defensively was as devastating a duo as there will ever be. Scottie and Michael used to compete on everything. Jordan used always claim his hands were bigger, but they weren’t. Scottie was very blessed down below. And that killed Michael. Johnny said, 'You should have seen the girls pippen had waiting for him everywhere we went.' Madonna used to pick him up in a limo with a hot tub every time we went to L.A. Michael used to tell Madonna he could satisfy her better, to which Madonna would tell him, 'Not a chance.'
The youngest of 17 children, Pippen has had a tough battle with money. When you combine the fact that pippen signed a stupid long term deal in 1991, family members riding him, and a crooked investment where he had $20 million stolen from him, Pip was basically flat broke when he came back to the Bulls in 2003. [Jerry] Reinsdorf gave him a big deal and even paid him for the two years he didn’t play, which he didn’t have to do. Reinsorf is a loyal guy and Johnny nothing bad to say about him, but Reinsdorf obviously took Krause’s position back in 1995 so it’s not all rainbows, but he likes Reinsdorf. Pippen also married Larsa who comes from big time money. So he’s doing fine now."
On MJ calling Muggsy Bogues a midget:
"Johnny said physically Jordan and Pippen were about the same as defenders. But when you add in MJ’s ruthlessness and trash talk, that put him ahead of Scottie. When Johnny was coaching with the Hornets in 1995 they had a good team. Glen Rice, Mourning, Johnson. Series was tied at 2 and Hornets had a chance to win game 5 in Chicago. On the biggest possession of the game, Mugsy had the ball with the Hornets down 1. Jordan backed off of him and told him: 'Shoot it you fucking midget.' Mugsy shot it, didn’t come close. A year later Mugsy actually told Johnny Bach that he believes that single play ruined his career. His shot never recovered."
On MJ paying for Bach's expenses so his former coach could attend his Hall of Fame ceremony:
"Jordan invited Johnny Bach (Johnny later told me they talk once a month, good friends) to MJ’s Hall of fame dinner. It was $1,000 per plate, plus airfaire, hotel, etc. Johnny straight up told Michael that he didn’t have the money. The next morning, a limo showed up, airfaire and hotel and dinner was paid for, along with other money to spend for the week."
On MJ using undercover cops to screen women:
"MJ used to tell Johnny that 'Tiger Woods is an idiot. I tried to help him, but the kid’s gonna get caught.' (we all know how that turned out). In order for a girl to get to MJ, she needed to go through 4 undercover former narcotics detectives just to speak to Michael. She had to be approved by all 4 to make sure she wasn’t gonna say a damn word about MJ to anyone. So there’s MJ, not the greatest character guy, but he sure was pretty smart."
God, we hope these stories are true. RIP, Johnny.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.