Keith Gibbs is an actor, mostly known for his specific roles in basketball-related movies. Those include “Blue Chips”, “The Sixth Man”, “The Air Up There”, and others.
Gibbs recently spoke with Grantland, and recalled some of the moments and experienced he had while filming, in particular, with real NBA stars, the biggest of which was Michael Jordan.
Gibbs recalled himself playing with Jordan, when the former superstar was filming “Space Jam”. Gibbs said he was asked to play pick-up games with Jordan.
“Joe Pytka was the director, and he used to hire me for different things,” Gibbs recalled. “That was right after Jordan’s first retirement, when he came back and lost in the semis. Warner Bros. built a gym, and there’s some YouTube video of it, like, Space Jam pickup games. I wasn’t there that particular day. But Pytka wanted some college guys — people who could play — just to come and work out with Jordan.”
“So, I went and played pickup with Jordan for three days with some other local college guys — Stevie Thompson, DeAnthony Langston, some other guys that I did a bunch of commercials and stuff with,” Gibbs said.
And of course, Jordan being Jordan, was trash-talking just as much as he was playing. Gibbs experienced it first-hand. He said Jordan trash-talked him “nonstop”.
“He didn’t give a shit who you were,” Gibbs recalled. “When I was doing Space Jam, we played three days. I thought it was over. I had to go out of town. I get a phone call, they’re like, “Why aren’t you here?” I was like, “Oh, they’re still playing?” I had no idea.”
“I walk in, and it’s Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Alonzo Mourning, Charles Oakley. Grant Hill shows up. Jerry Stackhouse shows up. Now, all of a sudden it’s an NBA All-Star pickup game. Every night,” he said.
Gibbs recalled that he did that for about 1,5 – 2 months.
“Then the UCLA kids came in, and they had just won a national title — Ed O’Bannon and those guys. Just phenomenal. Best pickup games I’ve ever been a part of. It was unreal,” he said.
“I had to guard Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan in back-to-back games. It was so bad. I was friends with Chris Mills and Tracy Murray — we had been to some camps together,” Gibbs went on.
“One play, I got switched onto Jordan, because Chris was like, “Keith, you take him.” Jordan hit a 35-footer on me. I mean, it was ridiculous: leg out, tongue out, all that stuff … hit a 35-footer on me and goes, “GET THE FUCK OFF THE COURT.”
A six-time NBA champion, Jordan earned fame and fortune on the basketball court, as well as through endorsements and movies. The Hall of Fame player won the NBA Most Valuable Player award five times and was named an all-star 14 times.
His on-court success and commercial endorsements have made him one of the most recognizable and prosperous athletes in the United States. Jordan played in total 1072 NBA games (1039 started), averaging 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg in 38.3 minutes per contest.
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