How Danny Ainge-Michael Jordan golf outing nearly cost 1986 Celtics


Turns out Danny Ainge's golf skills almost got him into a little trouble back in the day.

If you watched our "Classic Celtics" broadcast on Sunday, March 29, (or if you listen to the Celtics Talk Podcast), you heard Ainge tell the story about how he played a round of golf with Michael Jordan the day before Game 2 of the Celtics' 1986 Eastern Conference First Round playoff matchup with the Chicago Bulls.

We all know what happened next: Jordan went off for an NBA playoff record 63 points in Game 2, forcing the game to double overtime before Boston eked out a 135-131 win.

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Ainge added more insight into that fateful golf outing during the second episode of ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary, which aired Sunday night and detailed the rise of Jordan's Bulls in the 1980s.

"I took a few bucks off of Michael that day, and we're talking trash to each other," Ainge said in the documentary. "That might have been a mistake."

Ainge apparently beat Jordan on the golf course (Framingham Country Club, in case you're wondering), which got a rise out of the uber-competitive Bulls guard.

According to author Mark Vancil, who joined Ainge and Jordan for that golf outing, Jordan left Ainge with a warning.

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"We get done, we get in the car, we drop Danny off first," Vancil told ESPN. "And Michael says, 'Hey, tell your boy D.J. (Celtics guard Dennis Johnson) I got something for him tomorrow.' "

To say Jordan delivered would be an understatement, as his brilliant performance prompted Celtics star Larry Bird to describe him as "God disguised as Michael Jordan."

The Celtics got the last laugh, sweeping the series 3-0 en route to an NBA title. That must have been quite the relief for Ainge, who saw one of the earliest glimpses of the furious drive that made Jordan great.

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