Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest NBA player to walk on a basketball court. Six-time NBA champion in eight years, Jordan’s six Finals MVP awards, his five regular-season MVP honors, and his NBA Finals unbeaten record firmly established his GOAT status.
Jordan was the ultimate contender. No matter the score, no matter the odds, Jordan has always found a way to win. Whether it was his shot against Georgetown in 1982, his off-balance and airborne dagger on Craig Ehlo in 1989, or his last shot for the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in 1998, Jordan has always come out on top in clutch situations. .
The competitive streak in him also meant that Jordan never backed down from an opponent. The slightest of affronts amplified his motivation to do even better and the fact that he could keep his word made it even more devastating to his opponents.
Here are five such anecdotes shared by former NBA players that highlight Jordan’s competitiveness and the downside of talking to him about trash.
# 1 “Ha ha… fifty”
Most contemporary NBA fans may only know Byron Scott as a head coach. Scott won the Coach of the Year award (2008) when he was head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. He has also held head coaching positions with Cleveland and the LA Lakers.
But Scott also enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, playing 11 seasons with the Lakers, with whom he won three NBA championships (1985, 1987 and 1988). He understandably met MJ and the Chicago Bulls as an opponent quite often.
In an appearance on Dan Patrick’s show, Scott revealed an episode from the 1992-93 season when MJ and the Bulls were coming to town. Scott was not playing the game because of an injury. Jordan asked Scott who would keep him in his absence, to which Scott replied, “Anthony Peeler.” The response drew a chuckle from Jordan, who then said “50,” indicating the total points he would score against Peeler’s defense. To substantiate his claim, Scott revealed that Jordan ultimately went 54 in the game.
# 2 “Never talk to Black Jesus like that”
Hall of Fame member Reggie Miller has always been famous for his garbage speeches. One of the greatest shooters in the downtown NBA, he could get under any opponent’s skin with his jibes. But Miller had an episode with Jordan, which he now calls “a bad experience.”
Apparently, in Miller’s rookie season (1987-88), the Indiana Pacers faced the Bulls in an exhibition game before the start of the season. At halftime, Miller had scored 10 points to four for Jordan.
Encouraged by his own performance towards Jordan and encouraged by teammate Chuck Person, Miller began to taunt Jordan with remarks such as “Who do you think you are?” And “There’s a new kid in town.” At the end of the game, Jordan finished with 44 points while Miller had 12 points.
Jordan, after beating Miller 40-2 in the second half, approached Miller and said, “Be careful never to talk to Black Jesus like that.”