Eminem is to rap music what Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls.
The self-proclaimed “Rap God,” Eminem is one of the highest-selling acts in music history, let alone rap. Jordan, the Chicago Bulls legend, is arguably the greatest player ever to take the basketball court.
Naturally, it made sense that their paths would cross. The iconic rapper and basketball player sat down over the phone to make a business deal, one the former thinks he nearly destroyed with a simple joke.
Michael Jordan is a basketball legend
Even people who have never watched a single minute of basketball are familiar with Michael Jordan.
Arguably the greatest player in league history, Jordan averaged 30.1 points on 49.7% shooting to go with 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks per night in 1,072 games.
A 14-time All-Star and 10-time scoring champion, Jordan left a legacy on basketball that few other players have created in their sport. Jordan won five MVP awards and six titles with the Bulls, averaging 33.4 points in 179 career playoff games.
Jordan’s resume is filled with plenty of other accolades, ranging from 11 first-team All-NBA selections to a 69-point game.
Eminem is among the greatest rappers ever
Much like how non-basketball fans know who Michael Jordan is, plenty of non-rap fans are familiar with Eminem.
Born Marshall Mathers, the 48-year-old rapper is one of the most successful and influential acts in music history.
Through November 2020, Eminem has 15 Grammy Awards to his name, an Academy Award, 10 albums which opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and five number-one singles.
Two of Eminem’s albums, “The Marshall Mathers LP” and “The Eminem Show,” have attained diamond status. Three songs — “Not Afraid,” “Lose Yourself,” and “Love The Way You Lie” — accomplished the same feat.
Eminem made a joke that nearly cost him a deal with Michael Jordan
Both legends in their respective genres, it only made sense that Eminem and Michael Jordan’s paths would eventually cross.
In an appearance earlier this year on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning,” Eminem and host Sway Calloway began talking about The Last Dance, the ESPN docu-series about Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Eminem recalled a phone conversation he had with Jordan about possibly collaborating on a shoe design. Billboard.com transcribed the quotes.
“Everything was good until we get to the end of the phone call and I said, ‘Yo man, when are you going to come to Detroit so I can dunk on you.’ It was crickets. When I got off the phone, I remember thinking, ‘I don’t think he knew I was joking.'”
Eminem said Jordan eventually responded with a quiet laugh.
Paul Rosenberg, the rapper’s longtime manager, said Eminem was “mortified.”
“You guys have continued to do business with one another in a few ways since then, so I’m sure it’s all good,” Rosenberg said.
For the record, Eminem is reportedly 5 feet 8 inches, while Jordan stands 6 feet 6 inches. Maybe if the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets ever face off in the Eastern Conference finals, the two can finally have that dunk-off.