The interview took place in his living room, where he has a wine cellar, a cigar room, and you’re surrounded by six MVPs. It’s daunting. You realize that this is a very special man. The thing that blew me away was—and I have to go back to see how it came up; maybe I was asking about his smoking habits, and why he smoked and so forth—he confessed to me that nobody knew, but on the way to every Bulls home game, because he’s in the car for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half, he smoked a cigar. Usually a Hoya de Monterrey Double Corona. Which would allow him to relax and be ready for the game.
The perception is that athletes don’t smoke. And if they do smoke, they smoke on the weekend. Certainly not before a game. That was such an eye-opener to me. It really told me that this guy loves cigars. He’s passionate about cigars. To a fellow cigar smoker, that is real bonding. Not for this day, but there are many stories about how men meet other men and start talking, having a cigar, and how it affects their life and their friendships and everything else. So it was a rich experience. I felt honored to have the opportunity. And it was very well-received by our readers.
So I have a question. I’ve had a cigar here and there, but I don’t know much. It seems like smoking a cigar before a basketball game—well, I would not want to play basketball after doing that.
A lot of people, it does hit them in a certain way. It could alter them. But, you know, you don’t inhale cigar smoke. And obviously Michael was able to get the benefits from it, which was the relaxation. And maybe in the fourth quarter, when there’s four seconds [left], maybe it was the cigar that helped him get a swish and win the game.
I’m gonna credit the cigar! Michael will laugh if he hears it, but I’m gonna say he never would have made those shots, at home anyway, had it not been for the cigar that relaxed him before the game.
So obviously you guys had a happy initial interview. What led to the second one happening 12 years later?
You know, we stay in touch.
What sort of things do you guys talk about?
Eh, it’s personal stuff. So he was at the Bear’s Club [Ed. note: Jack Nicklaus’s private golf club in Jupiter, Florida], and I was playing at the Bear’s Club one day. His cart is going one way, my cart is going the other way. “Michael!” “Marvin!” “Michael!” “Marvin!”
So we’re facing each other, and the carts are going opposite directions, and I said, “It’s time!” And he knew what I was talking about. You know, for another interview. He said, “Let’s do it. Call me, we’ll set it up.”
And it was as simple as that.
It was as simple as that. So then we arranged to do it at the Bear’s Club, which was closed at the time. And this time, I brought a crew and I videotaped the whole thing. And the highlight there, which went viral after it was released, was when we talked about cigar smoking. I know he smokes on the golf course; I play with him. So I said, “How many do you smoke a day?” He said he smokes six a day, and he plays 36 holes. And I know he plays almost every day. And these are not little cigars!