It’s been a year since “The Last Dance” stirred up a new wave of interest in Michael Jordan’s heyday, but that didn’t stop “Saturday Night Live” from spoofing one of its iconic moments this weekend.
Host Keegan-Michael Key, a former Chicago improv star, played His Airness in a flashback to the bit where Jordan played quarters with security guard John Michael Wozniak — and lost. Wozniak gloated with a “whaddya gonna do”-style shrug.
In this version, Jordan does not lose the $5 bet gracefully. Looking back at the exchange years later, the notoriously driven, win-at-all-costs superstar says he was happy for his friend until “he did that little shrug, and I took that personally.”
He insists on a rematch and vindictively raises the stakes to $1,000. The guard (played by cast member Heidi Gardner, with Wozniak’s trademark epic white perm) reluctantly agrees, but admits after losing, “That is financially rough for me.”
And then Jordan keeps piling on, insisting the next wagers include Wozniak’s pants, his glasses and worse. Wozniak gamely keeps up his cheery demeanor as he’s stripped of his property but ultimately grumbles to Jordan, “You have a problem.”
The bit also had room for commentary from Phil Jackson (Alex Moffat, a former Bulls halftime performer), Charles Barkley (Kenan Thompson) and Dennis Rodman (Chris Redd, another former Chicagoan), who sums up the theme of the scene: “[Jordan] didn’t just want to beat you. He wanted to dominate you. He wanted to embarrass you.”
Jordan has a history with “SNL,” highlighted by his turn as the host in 1991, when he famously read daily affirmations into a mirror with confidence booster Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) and bantered with the Bears-loving Superfans.
Keeping the local theme alive on Saturday, Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost also noted the city’s program of releasing feral cats to reduce the rat population and quoted an alleged Chicago health commissioner as saying, in his best nasal Superfan voice, “Da caaats combat da raaats and dat’s daaat.”