For viewers of Michael Jordan's documentary, The Last Dance, Ahmad Rashad is a regular face during the entire series. The former NFL star appeared several times throughout the documentary - hanging out in the Bulls' locker room or being pictured with Michael Jordan. However, for hardcore fans of Michael Jordan, Ahmad Rashad is Jordan's closest confidant and one of his best friends. Rashad has been a part of the NBA legend's journey for almost 30 years now.
All I know is that the game was tied and he quit! pic.twitter.com/zh1oBqG4HR— Ahmad Rashad (@NBATVAhmad) May 16, 2020
Taking cues from The Last Dance, Rashad has been a recurring figure backstage during Michael Jordan's time with the Bulls. Rashad played in the NFL between 1972 and 1982 before pursuing a career in journalism. Currently a sports broadcaster, Rashad hosted weekly digest shows NBA Inside Stuff from 1990 to 2004 and NBA Access with Ahmad Rashad from 2005 to 2011. While his switch from an athlete to a celebrated journalist is impressive enough, Rashad is widely recognised as one of the closest friends of Michael Jordan.
Rashad joined The Undefeated for an interview where he opened up on his relationship with the NBA legend. "I was in LA for Magic Johnson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (charity game in 1990). That’s when I met Michael (Jordan)," said Ahmad Rashad. "And we just hit it off. I had already known Magic, and I had already known most of the other guys because I lived in LA half the time and would play pickup games with them."
Ahmad Rashad proceeded to say they traded numbers at the charity event and started talking frequently. What started with discussions about basketball and sports, quickly turned into a good friendship. Rashad believes Jordan is like a brother to him and their families are also very close. The NBA legend and the sports broadcaster also live near each other.
While many fans might be mistaken to think Ahmad Rashad played basketball, as mentioned, Rashad is a former NFL star. Playing as a wide receiver, Rashad is a four-time Pro Bowler and also a former Pro Bowl MVP. Rashad finished his career with 495 career receptions and over 6,800 receiving yards.
Despite never being a professional NBA player, the answer to 'Did Ahmad Rashad play basketball?' is in the affirmative. In 1990, during a preseason game between Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves, then-NBA commissioner David Stern allowed Rashad to don the 76ers jersey and step on the court for a couple of minutes. Mainly for promoting NBA Inside Stuff after the league signed a deal with NBC, Rashad scored a 20-foot jump shot and his side went on to win 102-96. 'Ahmad Rashad Sixers' is now a famous tale among 76ers fans as the broadcaster till date maintains a perfect record in the NBA.
While fans were afforded an inside look into Michael Jordan's legendary career, The Last Dance gave Rashad an opportunity to relive his time with Jordan. "I think that one of the greatest things that are happening with this thing (The Last Dance) is you’re getting to see a human being. You’re getting to see the human side of Michael. And as a matter fact, he wasn’t an a****le, he was a winner," Rashad told The Undefeated.
"We laugh so hard, man. Well, no, with Michael and the tequila, there’s three of us watching it. Me, him and the tequila. So, we end up telling stories, we end up laughing, we end up correcting s***. We end up remembering the whole thing. It is just a flat-out fun night," as he opened up on watching the documentary with Michael Jordan.