Back in 2017, Harold Varner III received a text that changed his life. It was Michael Jordan, asking Varner if he was interested in becoming a Jordan brand athlete. Varner absolutely was. The problem? Varner didn’t have Jordan’s number saved in his phone. So when the text came, Varner forgot to respond for over seven (!) hours.
Luckily, everything worked out, and Varner, sporting a full Jordan wardrobe, has been the envy of sneakerheads the world over ever since. In this week’s episode of Subpar, Varner told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz that he receives monthly shipments of fresh Jordan gear and estimates that he has around 400 pairs of shoes.
Another perk or being a Jordan brand athlete? Spending time with Jumpman himself. Not only has Varner played golf with Jordan, he’s played at Jordan’s exclusive club, Grove XXIII. While Varner says he was dialed in the first time he played there, relishing the chance to go toe-to-toe with the ultra-competitive Jordan, the second time he played, he was more focused on his buddy, Will, who played college golf at Auburn, and received an unexpected invitation to join Varner and Jordan for a round.
“So we go down [No.] 1, and Will’s just like — just playing like he’s nervous, he’s freaking out. And this is a grown man! He’s 27 years old!” Varner told Knost and Stoltz. “Because I just remember the first time I played with MJ, I was like, hey, this is competition, this is awesome. Let’s get it on. So we get on to the second tee, and MJ’s like, ‘There’s not gonna be any free rolls out here.’ He’s like, ‘Same bet, 100 bucks with you.’
“And I bet you — Will, I think he s— his pants,” Varner continued. “He literally couldn’t breathe. He was like, ‘Do you understand I’m playing with the GOAT?’ I was like, ‘I totally do, and you’re going to pay him 100 bucks if you don’t play well!’ So he gets up there and he hits a good drive down No. 2 and then he has 70 yards and I’ll bet you he hit it 20 yards. Twenty yards!”
Turns out, Will was wearing a Whoop, and after the round, Varner and Will checked the data, which revealed Will’s heart rate has reached 159 beats per minute.
“How ’bout that! That’s like running a sprint!” Varner said. “I knew he was nervous, but I didn’t know he might pass out.”
For more stories from Varner, including how Tiger Woods taught him how to focus, check out the full interview below.