NBA history is full of crazy Michael Jordan stories. His Airness was more than a talented player. He was also a fearless competitor, willing to go to extreme lengths to win; even after claiming the top spot, he then had to remind everyone of his greatness. That trend apparently hasn’t stopped in retirement. Just ask Kevin Garnett about that.
During the early days of his NBA career, Garnett earned a harsh lesson about challenging Michael Jordan. His Airness, it seems, won’t let the Big Ticket forget what happened on that fateful night. He even has a ‘content guy’ to provide some visual aids.
Michael Jordan was a ruthless competitor and a serial winner
It goes without saying that every professional athlete is competitive; you don’t become an elite athlete without wanting to be the best. Michael Jordan, however, took things to the next level.
Growing up, Jordan forged his famous will to win by battling against his older brother Larry. That competitive edge was put to the test, however, when Michael failed to make his high school’s varsity basketball team at the first attempt. That setback only pushed the teenager into overdrive.
MJ, of course, made the varsity squad the following fall. He then grew into a McDonald’s All-American, won an NCAA title at the University of North Carolina, and entered into the 1984 NBA draft. In the pros, he took things to the next level and became arguably the greatest basketball player ever to hit the hardwood.
While he did plenty of winning—His Airness claimed six championships, five NBA MVP titles, and virtually every other individual honor—Jordan’s will to win wasn’t just limited to basketball. He was a ruthless trash-talker, a frequent gambler, and had no problem cheating in order to claim the top spot.
Kevin Garnett learned his lesson about challenging MJ
As we saw during The Last Dance, Michael Jordan could take anything personally and turn it into motivation. During the early days of his NBA career, Kevin Garnett experienced that reality firsthand.
Without delving too deep into the finer details, Garnett once paid Timberwolves teammate J.R. Rider a compliment by saying he was “killing” Jordan and having a good game. The only issue, however, was that His Airness heard those comments.
MJ stared down Garnett and, despite Rider’s explanation that the young star was simply excited, the Chicago Bulls star switched into overdrive. Jordan wasn’t going to take it easy on the young man, though.
From there on, Jordan took over the game; according to Basketball-Reference, he finished with 35 points, and the Bulls won by 21 points. His Airness also rubbed a little salt in the wound, asking Garnett, “Damn, young fella, damn, y’all done?” after the game.
Michael Jordan has a ‘content guy’ who helps remind Kevin Garnett of that fateful night
Michael Jordan claimed multiple victories that night. Not only did he win the game, but he also put Kevin Garnett in his place; the Big Ticket learned never to trash-talk His Airness ever again. That, however, wasn’t enough for MJ.
“Whenever I see Jordan, he does the same thing every time,” Garnett explained on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! “He palms my head, and he says, ‘you remember my game against you, 40 in three quarters?”
Things, however, don’t end there. According to Garnett, Jordan has some visual aids ready to go, just to prove his point.
“And then he has this sidekick of people around him and is like ‘hey, pull that up,” Garnett continued. “And then a guy goes and pulls it up. And I’m like, ‘what the, what is this? This is really Jordan brand. Who walks around with a content [guy]?”
“Michael Jordan has a guy who walks around with highlights packages,” Kimmel said. “Already teed up, Jimmy. I couldn’t believe it,” Garnett added.
Based on Kevin Garnett’s retelling, there are some unanswered questions. Is this content guy an employee or just a friend who was hanging out with MJ? Were they using a custom highlight reel or just pulling a clip from Youtube?
No matter the specifics, though, one thing is clear. If you cross Michael Jordan, he’s not going to forget it.