If you want to hear a great story about Michael Jordan then ask any player from the 80s or 90s to tell you one. And I mean any! Not just an All-Star or a player who had the “opportunity” to try to guard him.
One of my favorites is Kendall Gill talking about the time MJ shut up Jimmy Jackson by pointing at JJ’s shoes (you can guess who was on those shoes). Then you have the story of Jerry Stackhouse & Vernon Maxwell talking trash about MJ who responded by dropping 48 in 3 quarters in a 27-point win. But sometimes you don’t even have to talk trash to MJ to feel his wrath: Mo Taylor told me a story about MJ yelling “shut up rookie” because Maurice was talking to another player while MJ was shooting free throws.
Maybe the worst thing you can do is not say anything but have a great game against MJ when you aren’t a “superstar.” Remember what happened when LaBradford Smith dropped 37 on MJ? Here’s Horace Grant telling that awesome bedtime story.
Last night, superstar Reggie Miller, who had to guard and compete against Jordan as many times as any player in NBA history, told a great bedtime story to Jimmy Kimmel about the time he tried to talk trash to “Black Jesus” during his rookie season.
“I started talking as soon as I got into the league, but I had a bad experience. My rookie year, we were playing the Chicago Bulls, this is Michael Jordan’s third or fourth year in, we were playing in an exhibition game in some obscure place, and most veterans do not like to play in exhibition games they want to get to the real thing.
“I’m a wide eyed energetic rookie, and we’re playing this exhibition game and Michael’s going through the motion. Chuck Person, who’s on my team, who’s a trash talker as well, is like, ‘can you believe Michael Jordan, the guy everyone’s talking about, the guy who’s supposed to be able to walk on water, and you’re out here killing him Reg’, and this was in the first half, ‘he’s like you should be talking to him’.
“I was like, you know what, you’re right; ‘Michael, who do you think you are? The great Michael Jordan? That’s right, there’s a new kid in town’
“He kind of looks at me and starts shaking his head. So at half, I have 10 and he has 4 points right. I’m doing all this talking, he’s like ok. End of the game, in the second half, he ended up with 44 and I ended up with 12. So he outscored me 40-2!
“And as he’s walking off he’s like ‘Be sure and be careful you never talk to Black Jesus again”.
Good night (but Black Jesus is and will always be Earl Monroe)!
Now let’s revisit some other memorable MJ vs Reggie moments.