If you think of Michael Jordan’s skill set, trash-talking is probably pretty high on the list. His Airness was able to throw out verbal barbs as easily as converting a lay-up; on occasions, even his teammates were subject to the assault. It seems that hasn’t really changed, even as MJ has moved into ownership.
During the 2022 NBA draft, Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets smartly snagged Mark Williams with the 15th overall pick. While that was a theoretically a happy movement for everyone involved, the former UNC Tar Heel couldn’t resist the chance to jump on the phone and remind his new employee that he came from the opposite end of Tobacco Road.
Michael Jordan ribbed Mark Williams during the Hornets’ draft call
For a young athlete, receiving a draft call is one of the biggest moments imaginable. At that moment, all the hard hours on the practice court are instantly worth it as a dream comes true. Mark Williams, however, had somewhat of a different experience. His involved a bit of trash talk.
As seen in a video shared by the Hornets’ Twitter account, the center spent most of the time talking to Mitch Kupchak. The general manager made most of the standard comments, offering congratulations and reminding Williams that the real work was yet to come, before passing the phone to “somebody else who really wants to say hello.”
That mystery man was none other than Michael Jordan, Charlotte’s governor.
Before reaching the Association, Jordan cut his teeth at the University of North Carolina. Williams just finished playing for the Duke Blue Devils, which gave His Airness the perfect opportunity for a bit of gentle ribbing.
MJ began with the usual pleasantries, congratulating Williams and telling the center that he hoped he’d make a difference in the pros. Then, he broke out the rivalry talk.
“And, even though you’re a Dukie, I take pride in that we did draft you,” Jordan added.
Williams, to his credit, took the comment in stride, breaking into a smile and saying they had to “put the beef aside.”
It’s safe to assume that won’t be the only trash talk he hears from His Airness during his time in North Carolina. In the future, though, it probably won’t be as gentle.