Gary Lineker recalls brilliant story of playing golf with Michael Jordan

If you haven’t been watching ‘The Last Dance’, then stop what you’re doing right now and get on it. 

The joint-production between ESPN and Netflix has received unanimously excellent reviews which are completely deserving due to the high-quality production and riveting story-telling. The documentary, of course, focuses on the career of NBA legend Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan & Gary Lineker.

In terms of Jordan’s personality, the documentary reveals the true extent of the legend’s competitiveness which was one of the key reasons he achieved so much in the sport.

It wasn’t solely related to winning championships either; if it was playing cards, a game of coin toss or his brief stint as a baseball player, Jordan wanted to win.

The latest example of his ruthlessness and competitive drive is illustrated in a brilliant anecdote from former England footballer and current BBC pundit, Gary Lineker.

Gary Lineker on his game of golf against Michael Jordan.

Lineker, who like all of us is a huge fan of the documentary, took to social media to tell a story about how he ended up playing golf with the six-time championship-winning former basketballer.

“I just watched episode 8 of the wonderful The Last Dance. Thought I’d share the story of the day I played golf with Michael Jordan. It was a Thursday night & I got a call from my agent. He said ‘I’ve had Michael Jordan’s people on the phone and he wants to play at Sunningdale.’

“I was a member so he thought I could help. He said, ‘There’s 3 of them: Michael and 2 of his basketball friends and they want to play on Sunday.’ I said ‘if it’s a Sunday they can’t play without a member, but I can host them’ (too fucking right, I could).

“So Saturday night I get a call from my agent, ‘There’s now 6 of them, 2 more friends and Samuel L Jackson. Shit, I’ll need to find another member to play with the other 3. I’ll call my friend, Queeny ( former European tour player and Sunningdale member), I’m sure he’ll help.

“Thankfully he was free and available. I turned up at 8.30 am. Keith, the club pro said ‘Your guests have arrived, they’re on the putting green.’ There they were, 6 of them, 5 giant basketball players and Samuel L Jackson ambling around, putting and smoking cigars.

“The observing, quintessentially white elderly members were wide-eyed. We introduced ourselves and headed to the 1st tee. Now, my mate, Queeny liked a bet on the golf course and was a bit of a hustler. So we’re all stood there and Queeny says in his slightly posh voice…

“’So Michael would you like bet, a little wager?’ Michael says ‘Sure, man.’ Queeny says ‘So how much would you like to play for?’

“Michael puffs on his cigar, looks straight at him, smiles and says ‘Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable, man.’

“Mr Jordan had already won the day.”


Originally published on May 23, 2020.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter