The thing I remember the most about him is the halftime speech at the All-Star Game. Barkley was laughing; a couple of guys were joking around. He basically informed us that we were going to win the game. And whoever didn't feel that way shouldn't play in the second half.

Will Perdue, former teammate

He always wanted to win. He would ask Phil Jackson to put Scottie on the other team so that when we scrimmaged, he and Scottie would go at it and he'd try to put Scottie in his place. I don't think Scottie recognized how beneficial that was at the time because it wasn't pretty. But it helped him.

Brian McIntyre, former Bulls and NBA media-relations head

At the Cleveland All-Star Game, when the NBA turned 50, he met with 12 Make-A-Wish kids. And it was a very emotional moment for everyone involved. He did stuff like that all the time. I was an emotional wreck for the rest of the day. He went out and performed like God. He could compartmentalize. And he made those kids' lives that day.

Clyde Drexler, Hall of Fame opponent in 1992 Finals, Dream Team teammate

I'm about six months older than Michael. We're just making the turn. It's time to go to the back nine. Michael was the ultimate competitor. He was always supportive as a teammate as well.

Dwight Howard, All-Star center

Everybody wanted to be like Michael. He's amazing. Everything he did, he inspired everybody to be better basketball players and better people.

Joakim Noah, Bulls All-Star center

Growing up as a Knicks fan, his influence was more negative. As I got older, I appreciated his talent more. … When he came back wearing No. 45, I was in there and he scored 55. Everybody thought he was going to take the last shot. And he dimed to Big Bill (Wennington). I wasn't happy about that.

Luol Deng, Bulls All-Star forward

He gave a lot of people hope to be like him. I have so many memories watching him as a kid growing up. What can you say other than he's the best?

Tim Hardaway, longtime opponent and Chicago native

I remember going against him in the Chicago Summer Leagues at IIT in 1985 and 1986. He had like 65 and I had like 63. I remember watching him play at the old Chicago Stadium. I always enjoyed being around him.

Gary Payton, longtime opponent and foe in 1996 Finals

I remember me and him jawing together. We always had great battles. That's what brought it out in me. Him and John Stockton were the two guys I always looked forward to playing against because I knew I would learn something. And I was the better trash talker, of course.

Tommy Heinsohn, former Celtics great and longtime broadcaster

He tried to kill you playing tiddlywinks. You have to have that to win as many championships as he did.

Tamika Catchings, WNBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and Stevenson graduate

We met him when I played at Tennessee. We were playing DePaul and (coach) Pat (Summitt) said, ''I have a surprise for you guys.'' She took us downtown and we went to this big office building and hung out with him. It was so cool because you never thought you'd be that close to Jordan.

Tim Duncan, All-Star Spurs center

I remember when he hit that big shot at the All-Star Game (with the Wizards) near the end of his career. Just being here for that experience was fun.

Reinsdorf, extravagant humor

David Falk was in town staying at the Ritz Carlton. We agreed to get together to talk. Michael was there and we were going to order dinner in Falk's suite. Michael got the menu and wanted to order wine. He looked at the wine list and it wasn't good enough so he called down and said, ''Don't you have anything more expensive than this?'' And he ordered two bottles of some incredibly expensive wine and charged it to Falk's room.

Tribune reporter Teddy Greenstein contributed.

Twitter @kcjhoop