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Facing Jordan: What it was like to face the basketball legend

Michigan great Terry Mills describes his experiences going head to head with MJ.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — By the time Terry Mills entered the NBA in 1990, teams had long accepted there was no stopping Michael Jordan.

“You were going through a scouting report,” Mills, now a radio analyst for Michigan basketball, recalls. “When it got to Michael Jordan’s name, it’s kind of like, we skip over that one. Michael is going to be Michael.”

Over the course of his 12-year NBA career, Mills experienced what that meant. From 50-point games to buzzer beaters, Jordan always seemed to rise to the occasion, and it always left the Michigan native shaking his head.

“All of sudden, they come down and throw it into the triangle to Jordan. He turns around and hits a fade away jumper in less than five or six seconds and it’s like, 'Man, is it that easy?'” Mills asks.

For Jordan it often was, but that didn’t mean the former Wolverine would back down from a challenge. One time when he was with the Pistons, Mills found himself going toe to toe with Jordan, and he was loving every minute of it.

“I can remember that game. In '95, I got it going,” he remembers. “I would say ‘I got it going,’ and he would say ‘it’s a long game.’”

In the end, Mike was right. Mills got 20 but Jordan got 29 and a win, such was life for NBA players in the 90s.

“You know, us winning 54 games, we thought we were pretty good. We got a chance. Now all of a sudden that bar is raised with them winning 72 games that year,” he says. “He was just a special player.”

A player who won a lot of games and more importantly the rest from the guys who often beat.

“It was an honor to play against him.”

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