We’ve heard the story about Jim Harbaugh picking up his cell phone in 2015 to find Michael Jordan on the other end.
As the Michigan football coach told it at the time, his phone cut out and he had to get clarification as to it was. Now, more than three years later, Harbaugh is telling the whole story.
He thought it was a football recruit.
“There was another player we were recruiting at the time named Michael Jordan, who was an offensive lineman,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “He plays for Ohio State now. But yes, at the time we were recruiting Michael Jordan and there was of course Michael Jordan.
“I was like, ‘Which Michael Jordan is this?'”
Of course, Jordan was calling on behalf of his Nike-affiliated shoe and apparel brand, of which Michigan later inked an 11-year contract worth up to $173 million to outfit its football and men’s basketball programs in “Jumpman” uniforms.
Michigan became the first football program in the country to wear the Jordan brand in 2016, an endorsement from Jordan himself.
“When we first took the job here, there was a shoe contract that was up,” Harbaugh told Dan Patrick. “There’s a lot of good shoes out there, etcetera. My son, Jay, came up with the idea. He’s like, ‘There’s no Jordan football school. That would be pretty awesome.'”
Jay Harbaugh is currently Michigan’s running backs coach. And Jim, a former NFL player was a big Jordan fan. He spent seven seasons with the Chicago Bears during the height of Jordan’s reign in Chicago.
So when the Michael Jordan called, the decision to sign was a no-brainer.
“Just to be (in Chicago) at that time and watch Michael Jordan take off from the free-throw line, or the slam dunk contest, whatever, the way he played was just incredible to watch,” Harbaugh said.
“I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. Still am.”
DOUBTS? Harbaugh was asked by Dan Patrick if he had any doubts about his team right now following its 42-7 win over No. 14 Penn State on Tuesday.
Michigan (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) has now won eight straight games, the last three against ranked opponents.
“We don’t want to lighten up. We want to tighten up,” Harbaugh said. “But I like our team. They’re playing hard. They’re playing focused. They’re playing confident. Confident in their own abilities and confident in each other.”
The Wolverines opened the week as 39-point favorites ahead their game Saturday at 1-8 Rutgers (3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).