Because it’s August and nothing is happening in the NBA, NBATV Canada has been playing a whole bunch of old Chicago Bulls games, which came in handy when my wife flew home for a quick family visit and I was left with a weekend of time to fill. And while I’ve seen such legendary games like Game 1 of the 1992 Finals or Game 6 of the 1998 Finals what feels like a million times, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t watched such lesser known gems like Game 6 of the 1992 Eastern Conference finals and Game 1 of the 1993 Finals in 20 years.
It’s from the latter of those two games, Game 1 of the 1993 NBA Finals, that the following story comes from, via ESPN’s Page 2 from a million blog years ago:
[Robin] Ficker speaks from experience. He once irked then-Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson by reading out loud from Jackson’s basketball memoir, “Maverick.” During a game. While sitting behind the Chicago bench.
“Jackson said he was going to have the referees come over if I kept reading,” Ficker said. “What got him so upset, I don’t know. If he didn’t want to hear passages from the book, he shouldn’t have written it.”
At the request of Charles Barkley, Ficker even traveled to the 1993 NBA Finals in Phoenix, where he razzed Michael Jordan about a series of gambling allegations.
“Barkley got me a seat behind the Bulls bench, so I brought these huge playing cards, dice and a bunch of dollar bills,” Ficker said. “During the game, I’m dealing [Jordan] a hand and asking him what he wants to bet. And he’s turning around and holding up three fingers. It was fun.”
The best part, which isn’t mentioned in the Page 2 article, is that Ficker was ejected from Game 1 of the Finals so quickly that NBC already had footage of him being talked to and escorted from his seats by stadium officials midway through the first quarter. That is some serious heckling, if you screaming so much that you can’t even last 12 minutes of game action before you’ve angered someone so much that they insist on your removal.
But when you hear this quick description of Ficker, via USA Today by way of the DC Sports Bog, you’ll believe it.
“Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls threw a basketball at him. Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons threw a shoe. The Golden State Warriors, en masse, doused him with Gatorade. Former Utah coach Frank Layden spit on him.”
Yep, that’s the guy Charles Barkley decided to give an all-expense-paid trip to Phoenix to show up at Game 1 of the Finals and yell like crazy, which he did before being promptly kicked out for doing so. Oh, and the Suns lost that game too. Money well spent.