We know by now Jim Harbaugh is a competitive maniac, but we now have one of the better examples thanks to one of the sources closest to the situation: his brother John.
As John Harbaugh told The MMQB Podcast with Peter King, John and his brood took on Jim and his in a friendly game of basketball over Memorial Day weekend. However, there are no such things when Jim Harbaugh is involved.
“No one is more competitive than him. He has a bunch of kids now, young kids. Just had a baby, John Paul. …
Last Memorial Day we did vacation together. My wife and I have a cottage up north in Michigan on Lake Huron. We get Jim to drive up with the kids and all that, and we have a basketball hoop in the front yard in the driveway, and we were going to play a little game with the kids, and we just started shooting around, and next thing you know it was a 4-on-4 game. It was Jack, who is two-and-a-half, Addy, who is six, Katie, who is four-and-a-half or five at the time, Allison who is 13 or 14 and she is a little basketball player, and Jim and me and Sarah, my wife.
We’re playing, and you can picture the kind of game it is, right? Allison happens to hit a couple jumpers and we’re playing to seven, and we’re up maybe 5-1. Next thing you know, Jim starts going over the top of Allison for rebounds, he’s boxing her out 10 feet away from the basket. Next thing you know, it’s 5-5 and Jim has made all the shots for his team of course.
I’m like, you know, maybe Addy would like to touch the ball? Maybe Katie or Jack could dribble a little bit now and then? It goes 6-6 and a long rebound comes out the side, he goes and gets it. I see Allison happens to be over there, so I see him going to the basket, he’s going to take Allison to the hole, you know, he’s about 6’3″, 235, so I’m going to go cut him off. I get him with my right arm bar across his chest and I’m trying to body check him into the pricker bushes behind the driveway, and he just powers his way to the basket, lays one over the top, a reverse layup off the board, and all he could talk about is how he won.
He picks up Jack and says, ‘Doesn’t it feel great, Jack, to win? Doesn’t it feel great to win?’
An hour later we were crossing paths in the backyard to go get a soda or something, and he looks me right in the eye and he says, ‘Hey John, have you won anything yet?’”
If you’re like me, you’ve dribbled and shot a basketball in close proximity of young children in the past. And if you’re like me, you act like an elephant teaching at a school for ants the entire time.
Jim Harbaugh, though, treats a game involving three kids six years old and under like the Big Ten title is on the line, throwing caution and his own relatives to the wind as he races to D up his 13-year-old niece. It’s obvious that the famous Harbaugh competitive streak does not have an off switch, and the same strand of DNA that allows him to craft a decade-long career as an NFL quarterback and to turn San Diego, Stanford, the San Francisco 49ers and now Michigan into winners.