Kenny Rogers passed away last night at the age of 81. We remember a moment that will bring a smile to all our faces: the time Rogers pump-faked Michael Jordan out of his damn shoes.
The year was 1988. Jordan was coming off an MVP season, leading the league with 35 points per game while earning Defensive Player of the Year honors. He, along with dozens of other sports stars and musicians, were invited to Rogers' estate in Georgia for a three-day fundraiser named the Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend.
All type of events and competitions were held in the name of philanthropy. One of the events was a three-on-three basketball tournament featuring Jordan, Rogers, Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins and John McEnroe, among others. Who won and who lost doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that Rogers, hair shining white as snow, pump-faked an in-his-prime MJ through the roof, as you can see in the highlight tape below:
Is there a possibility Jordan bit on that pump-fake a bit harder than necessary to make his host look good? Certainly. I find it more probable that Jordan, in all of his legendary competitiveness, wanted to volleyball-spike the shot into the stands and didn't realize Rogers had that in his bag.
For all of his remarkable accomplishments in music, faking out Michael Jordan probably ranked pretty high for Rogers. But in the end, it's only one of thousands of great memories provided by the man.