Sam Perkins: Bobby Knight made Michael Jordan cry at 1984 Olympics

Associated Press

Michael Jordan is going to deny this.

And if you think he hates the crying Jordan meme…

But Sam Perkins — a stretch big before stretch bigs were a thing — was in the room as a member of the 1984 USA gold medal team at the Los Angeles Olympics. Perkins and Jordan were teammates at North Carolina and on Team USA that summer, a team coached by Bobby Knight.

The USA ran into a tough test in the quarterfinals, with a Detlef Schrempf-led West German team keeping things close before the Americans pulled away a little for a 78-67 win. Perkins was on SiriusXM NBA Radio today with Tina Cervasio and Tim Legler, and he recounted this story from after that game.

“Bobby Knight, he got after us. One story real quick. He told Michael that’s the worst he ever played. Now, Michael’s going to deny this but he cried, he cried after the game because of the fact that Bobby Knight told him, ‘You should apologize to everybody in here.’ … Leon Wood was his boy at the time so Leon Wood went over there to pat him on his back and say, ‘It’ll be alright, it’ll be alright.’ But the thing about it, Bobby Knight was just trying to instill some, you know, even though we didn’t play that bad, it’s the fact that he just wanted us to wake up for the next game because anything could happen. But that’s the way Bobby Knight coached.”

That 1984 team may have been made up of college stars, but it was loaded with Dream Team level talent — Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin were on the team, but guys like Charles Barkley (Knight didn’t like his defense), Karl Malone and John Stockton were cut. However, we’re talking young college players, ones who could be pushed — bullied? — by the strong personality of Knight. Young players feeling the pressure of the USA on their chest.

But Jordan cried?

He’ll never admit it if he did.