In the midst of the 1993 NBA playoffs, chasing a third straight title for his Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan decided to boycott the media. His gambling had come under intense public scrutiny after it had been reported that he owed more than $1.2 million from lost golf matches—but instead of speaking out, the most famous athlete on the planet avoided the press. Then, before the first game of the NBA Finals, he suddenly decided to address the rumors, unexpectedly agreeing to break his silence and talk. But only to one person: NBC’s Ahmad Rashad.
Rashad (born Robert “Bobby” Moore, he changed his name after converting to Islam) was a former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and a television broadcaster for NBC, but he’s better described as one of the most well-networked dudes in sports. By the 1993 Finals, he’d become friends with Jordan—and, since he’d be in Phoenix covering game one, Jordan asked him to do the interview. This became Rashad’s calling card: as a sideline reporter and host of NBA Inside Stuff, he made his name by getting the type of access no one else could.