Michael Jeffrey Jordan is considered by many basketball historians and analysts as the greatest player ever to grace the hardwood. So it would be difficult to imagine that Air Jordan would ever say there was someone he considered better than him, and yet there is: Michael’s older brother, Larry. And there’s some 35-year-old footage that’s resurfaced which shows how good MJ’s big brother might’ve been after all.
“The biggest influence on my basketball skills is my brother Larry… he used to beat me all the time, [him] being 5-7 and I was, maybe, 5-10,” His Airness says in the full clip. And Larry can be seen leaping into the air and performing a few dunks as the 1984-85 NBA Rookie of the Year points at his older sibling. “I’m the Air Jordan; I’m No. 2, he’s [No. 1].”
MJ has always touted the skills of Larry, who is eleven months older. In the July 1996 issue of SLAM Magazine, the 6x NBA champ said, “Man, my older brother Larry used to kill me. He was older and bigger than me. He would beat me, talk to me and not let me forget about it.”
His Airness entered his sophomore year at Laney High School as a 5-foot-11 sophomore. But come the following year, MJ had grown to 6-foot-3, and he reached his final height of 6-foot-6 by the end of his senior year.
“What that did for me was make me work that much harder to beat him,” MJ added. “He had no idea that I was going to end up taller than him. I look at my games with him as a great experience when I was young, because I developed my love for the game and it made me work harder to get better.”
The NBA GOAT gives a lot of credit to his brother and his hard work. But given both of the brothers’ obvious athletic talent, one would have to wonder if it was all in the genes. Watch the video of MJ and his mom Deloris appearing together in the 1988 ABC special, Superstars and Their Moms, where she nails all kinds of shots from the basketball court and even throws down a reverse two-hand jam of her own!