From Jordan to Obama, trainer Tim Grover talks GOATs with Jalen Rose
Stylist to the stars Zerina Akers talks to Jalen Rose about dressing Beyoncé
Lil Rel Howery tells Jalen Rose how he got Glenn Close to do 'Da Butt' dance
Ana Navarro talks to Jalen Rose about Miami, politics and working in TV
Hebru Brantley talks to Jalen Rose about using his art to spread his messages, feelings
Charissa Thompson opens up to Jalen Rose about overcoming painful incident
Can you imagine thinking you’re having a heart attack on the basketball court, coming to and seeing Michael Jordan standing over you? It happened.
This week’s “Renaissance Man” guest, Tim Grover, who was MJ’s longtime trainer, told me the story, which happened when the Bulls great was making his comeback. Tim enlisted former collegiate and overseas players to scrimmage with his prized client, including one guy who, upon learning he’d be hooping with MJ, ran out to his car for some reinforcements.
“He drank like five Red Bulls,” Tim told me. When the guy got into the game, he was playing on the team opposite Jordan. “And all of a sudden I see him just kind of slow down. The game had been going on for a while … He’s sweating profusely, and all of a sudden I see him just pass out on the floor.” They stopped the game, and Tim saw him foaming at the mouth, so he ran onto the floor and gave him CPR. Tim told MJ he was having a heart attack, to which MJ responded, “Evidently.”
“The guy comes around and then he wakes up and then … the first person he sees is MJ. And he starts to apologize: ‘Oh, Mike. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ And Michael’s like, ‘Hey, you good?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ So [Jordan] goes up to me: ‘All right, well, get me a sub. I’ve got a game to finish,’” said Tim.
Thankfully, Mr. Red Bull was totally fine in the end, but there are so many stories like this about MJ’s assassin streak, and Tim had a front-row seat to so many of them. They started working together in 1989 and continued throughout all of MJ’s insane accomplishments, including his six NBA championships, his time in baseball and his two retirements. So what made Tim, who is the CEO of Attack Athletics, the most sought-after trainer?
He was one of the first guys to come onto the scene and work with players individually to diagnose mechanical issues, prescribing specific drills, workouts or body transformations for optimal performance. He broke the one-size-fits-all fitness model, and it turned his Chicago facility into the premier and exclusive spot for NBA players to work out. And I do mean exclusive. An invite to work out there was like a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket.
He trained the late great Kobe Bryant, plus Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley — who he called his funniest client — and yours truly. When I worked with him in the early 2000s, I posted my highest career scoring averages and I was in the best shape of my life. Nowadays, there are a million tools at athletes’ disposals and a million celebrity trainers who show off their clientele and methods on social media. Tim drew that blueprint — without social media.
Most recently, he published his third book, “Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness.” In it, he says winning is the lover that takes you to paradise all night and then you wake up alone. He isn’t saying a W is overrated. He’s saying it’s fleeting, and that takes a mental toll on many elite athletes.
“You can’t own it. You could hold on to it briefly, just briefly, and then it leaves you because it’s going to move on to the next … So these champions, they’re at their highest when they win, but that’s also their lowest point, because they know in order to do it again, what they have to go through over and over and over again … to constantly be in that race to win again and again.”
(See: Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors.)
Tim understands not just the physical part of winning, but also the mental aspect, which is what made him and MJ, who was so cutthroat, very compatible.
And in the never-ending debate about who is better, MJ or LeBron, Tim and I both agree, there is no contest. Jordan is in a league of his own. Tim, who was in “The Last Dance,” which pulled Jordan back into the conversation, said younger folks nowadays think footage of Jordan is photoshopped because they can’t imagine such high-flying acts. But he likes to tell people, “It’s actually even better in person.” He said MJ was simply dominant.
“While MJ was on the court, Patrick didn’t win. Charles didn’t win. Stockton didn’t win. Clyde didn’t win. Carmelo didn’t win. And we could just keep going on and on and on … You are not going to win during this time,” Tim said.
We also discussed MJ’s swagger off the court. He had the bald head, the baggy shorts, and he played with his tongue out. He enjoyed a cigar, and a glass of wine. And he also liked to gamble. But Tim said the real description requires a different vocabulary. Let’s call it “GOAT vernacular.”
For example, Tim said Jordan loved automobiles. “I don’t call them cars … because he didn’t drive cars. He drove automobiles. And he didn’t wear watches. He wore timepieces. There’s a huge difference between the two. I was like, ‘Listen, I wear a watch and I drive a car’ … And he’s like, ‘Come over to the house’. I said, ‘MJ, you don’t live in a house. You live in an estate’. So everything was a level up.”
Tim has been around and trained the greatest, but he said playing hoops with Barack Obama on Election Day in 2012 was “surreal.” He was most struck by the amount of security.
“They were all on the roof. They literally lifted the sewers and had people positioned in the sewers … All you could see was the individual eyes. They didn’t smile at you. They didn’t speak at you. They didn’t do anything. I mean, they had the camouflage gear. They were lying out in the parking lot, lying under cars, in the grass. It was amazing.”
I understand that it’s protocol for the president to be protected by a massive team of Secret Service agents, but that adds a whole other level to a basketball game. You can’t hack the president. There’s the refs and his security team standing by to call a flagrant foul and tackle you if you reach in.
“It was funny. After he was done, he looked at his phone and before the results were even there, you could see a smile on his face. And he was like, ‘Yeah, not only did I win in this gym, but I’m [still the] president of the United States.’ And he took pictures with all of us … It leaves an imprint.”
And it sure left an imprint on me. Because now I am envious of Tim. I have played with former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, but I have never hooped with Obama. It’s on my bucket list.
For all of Tim’s glory with his Hall of Fame clients, he said he most enjoyed bringing players back from the brink of career-ending injuries. Players like Tracy McGrady and Caron Butler and even Charles Barkley, who ruptured his quad tendon in 1999. “When he went down, Charles came up to me and said, ‘I can’t let my daughter see me go out like this. I need to get back on the court. I need to play one more game next season and I need to score a basket.’” Four months later, Charles returned for one game, and though there was no championship, that was an incredible W for all involved. And that’s what Tim does.
Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA, before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is currently an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up,” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book, “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker, and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article