NBA / Apr 28, 2011 / 11:00 am

Common Knew Michael Jordan Before He Became The G.O.A.T.


Chicago breeds superstars. As far as basketball, they have that covered. But in entertainment, they aren’t bad either. Common, once known strictly as one of the illest emcees in hip-hop, has now branched out to become an actor, model and a public speaker.

But one thing he says he will never forget were his experiences as a Chicago Bulls ball boy during the early-to-mid 1980s. His timing was perfect; he was there just as the old regime was being run over and toppled by an exciting rookie from Chapel Hill, Michael Jordan.

In an interview with TimeOut Chicago, Common spoke on a number of things such as the city’s best restaurants, what his childhood was like and also how he fell in love with hip-hop, but his recollections about his time spent in Chicago Stadium with the Bulls were the most interesting.

When I was 11, till maybe 13 [1983–85 seasons], I was a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls. I came in on a year when they weren’t that great, but they had some cool players like Quintin Dailey, Ennis Whatley and Orlando Woolridge. But after a year, a man by the name of Michael Jordan came in. I will never forget seeing Jordan play a song in the locker room during the first exhibition game and the general manager, Rod Thorn, saying to him he can’t play music, that’s the rule. But after the second exhibition game they told him he could play whatever he wanted because he was that good. Just to be around that kind of transition, and getting to bond [with] and meet Michael Jordan and all those cats, was obviously one of the best experiences you could ever have in life.

Common didn’t elaborate on how well he did get to know MJ, but I’m assuming he saw a lot. I used to know two kids who grew up as Celtic ball boys and they always told me crazy stories. Stories about playing H.O.R.S.E. with Jordan. Stories about playing one-on-one games with Kobe and Shaq. They even told stories about the good tippers and the not-so-good tippers (some players would shell out a couple of hundreds just to have the ball boys get something from their car).


What’s your favorite Common song?

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  • top_gun

    Damn this wasn’t worth an article when all he said was he was the ball boy for the Bulls and that MJ wasn’t allowed to play music the first day but on the next day they changed the rule. Weak!

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla


    You are at a dangerously high level of bitchassness right now. You should go get a check up from your Gynocologist asap.

    good article, i know how it is to see a legend before he becomes a legend (like i saw with KG his Senior year in HS), but i cant even begin to think what it was like to see the ultimate legend of Chicago, just as he was starting his takeover.

    Now that i think about it, Common has to be one of the luckiest S.O.B.’s alive!!!

    -Parents were successful in their careers and he had a good child hood
    -ballboy for MJ’s bulls
    -became a well respected emcee
    – got to smash Ericka Bahdu and that big ass
    – linked up with Kanye and No I.D. To take his career to star levels
    – got to smash Serena Williams
    – hooked up with Alicia Keys on Smoking Aces
    – got to be in American Gangster, which is an instant classic

    Damn that dude is flat out lucky… Or really good at what he does…or both.

  • Shourjo

    I’m in agmt w/ top_gun. Common’s been talking about his ball boy experience in interviews for yrs now (I probably first read it in an interview 10ish yrs ago) and this is always as far as his story goes. Which is, frankly, boring. I was hoping there would be something more to the story this time …. but no dice.


    Michael Jordan does not like little boys, thats Michael Jackson!

  • SWAT

    @ bruce-i wish i could play noise for you-(crickets)
    thts about all u get
    @ chica good comments. i agree-luckiest SOB ever but he did make ” i used to love H.E.R.” so maybe he deserves it-still he hooked up with my baby serena-THAT BASTARD! LOL

  • top_gun

    Who says bitchassness? What are you a Diddy fan? In no way was my comment directed at Common you imbecile. Clearly I was stating the article lacked any real substance.

    Lastly, you ain’t Cube and i’m not Common, but I see the bitch in you.

  • http://www.gofukurselves.idiots.org Chicagorilla


    Impressive finishing move with the Cube/common reference. Maybe you should write for a magazine…perhaps sister to sister?

    I dont think i said anything about you coming at common or me. I was referring to you bitching like…well a bitch about the article.

    Im sure in your world, it’s a cool thing to do to read an article then complain about some little shit. that seems to be the norm around this site these days. But i feel if i inform you of your bitchassness, you will at least think twice before posting. That way we can cut down on the tampon litter around this site and get back to acting like a real man and just NOT COMMENT if you aint feeling it.

  • Tha Boddy “Wiz Kid”

    Side note the Common CD “Be” is excellent it’s afew years old but I made sure to transfer it from CD to my IPod “some say that I’m a dreamer cause I talk about it often seen the hardest n!gga soften when his homie in a coffin”EPIC!!!

  • JC

    I don’t get it…

    An article is written. Someone comments that he’s not a fan of the article. Then, someone else comments, “if you don’t like what was written, just don’t comment on it…”

    Why is it NOT okay for someone to say he dislikes an article, but at the same time is IS okay for someone to say he dislikes a comment? If you’re not feeling it, don’t comment on it, right?

  • Tim Hardaway

    I hate commments that make comments about other people’s comments that are commenting on an article that they don’t like…

  • Colton

    i agree with Chicagorilla. if you dont like it, dont comment if you have no substance in your comment especially, which is what you were bitching about in the first place … you are


  • Colton

    but i do agree .. freedom of speech and all that jazz.