Clemson University

How Dabo met Michael Jordan during Swinney’s bachelor party

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney got a bit off topic during his press conference to preview N.C. State.

Swinney on Tuesday discussed a phone call he had with Deshaun Watson over the weekend, which led to a question about the time Swinney compared Watson to Michael Jordan.

“Sometimes I say things, y’all know that, that I’m just in the moment,” Swinney said. “The whole Jordan thing came about because the Bulls had the third pick when they took Jordan. The Bears had the third pick. That’s the only reason that came up. ... I just meant he’s a winner and a killer like that. It just took on a life of its own.”

Swinney has made it known in the past that he is a big fan of Jordan and was asked Tuesday if he has ever met the NBA Hall of Famer. As it turns out, he has.

“I met him on my bachelor party. It was a clean bachelor party,” Swinney said laughing. “All my buddies, sometime in July, we went to Birmingham and we hung out. They ended up taking us to, I want to say it was called Jitterbugs. It was a little dance club at the Holiday Inn... And so you know, we’re just hanging out and my brother is there. So we go to Jitterbugs. But I’ll never forget it, when we were walking up, there was this car parked right at the front door and it had MJ23.”

Swinney was a graduate assistant at Alabama at the time, while Jordan had retired from basketball and was playing baseball for the Birmingham Barons.

“I remember going in, I’m like, ‘Michael Jordan’s in here?’ So some of the Barons were in this little dance place — just a bar, dance club,” Swinney recalled. “So we all go in there and I’m looking. I’m trying to find him. Sure enough, I saw him in the back. He’s in the back bar area.

“I’m like, ‘I’m going to meet Michael Jordan.’ And I did.”

Swinney’s friends that were with him on the bachelor party snapped a photo as Swinney introduced himself to Jordan. It was the only time the two have ever met.

Swinney hopes to change that at some point and is looking forward to introducing himself as the head coach at Clemson if they ever meet again.

“I’d love to meet Michael Jordan, like, today’s version of Dabo where he might actually go, ‘Aren’t you that coach from Clemson?’” Swinney said. “Maybe that’ll happen one of these days. That would be awesome. He’s the best.”


Who: No. 4 Clemson (9-0, 6-0) at N.C. State 4-4 (1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Raleigh, N.C.


Line: Clemson by 32

Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The