Michael Jordan is one of the fiercest competitors in NBA history. From punching Steve Kerr in the face to verbally challenging teammates in practice, the Chicago Bulls legend never shied away from getting confrontational.
A six-time NBA champion, Michael Jordan never had any run-ins with his coaches on the Bulls or Washington Wizards. However, MJ’s ferocious attitude rubbed off on the people around him and got someone in trouble during the 2009-10 NBA season.
John Paxson won three rings with Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan and John Paxson won three straight titles together on the Bulls during the ’90s. The Dayton, Ohio native was an excellent 3-point shooter and spaced the floor well for the Bulls.
In Game 6 of the 1993 Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Paxson hit the game-winning 3-pointer. The shooting guard’s last season in the NBA was in 1993-94. He joined the Bulls as an assistant coach after retiring from the NBA and then became an exec with Chicago.
Paxson finished his NBA career with averages of 7.2 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 772 games with the San Antonio Spurs and Bulls. Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant were the three best players on those Bulls teams during the early ’90s, but Chicago doesn’t win three rings in a row without Paxson’s clutch shots.
As an exec with the Bulls, John Paxson helped the franchise have some success in the post-Michael Jordan era. Most Chicago fans, though, will remember Paxson for what he did during the 2009-10 season.
John Paxson tried to fight Vinny Del Negro
During the 2009-10 season, John Paxson tried to fight Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. Michael Jordan, who punched Steve Kerr and Will Purdue during his days with the Bulls, must have been shocked when he heard what Paxson tried to do.
Adrian Wojnarowski, who worked for Yahoo! Sports at the time of the incident, detailed the scuffle in a sports column. Paxson was upset because Del Negro played Joakim Noah more minutes than he was supposed to.
“After a loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, an irate Paxson walked into the coach’s office at the United Center and confronted Del Negro over a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah. Sources said Paxson first grabbed a hold of Del Negro’s tie and seemingly tried to provoke him with two successive jabs into his chest. Paxson was even heard to angrily challenge Del Negro to a fight.”
Del Negro was fired after the 2009-10 campaign despite leading the Bulls to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Paxson and GM Gar Forman replaced him with Tom Thibodeau.
John Paxson clearly lost his cool during his confrontation with Vinny Del Negro. It’s unknown if Michael Jordan ever talked to his former teammate about the tussle, but if they did, it’s safe to say there were cigars and wine involved.
Michael Jordan’s Bulls career will never be topped by anyone
Michael Jordan went 6-0 in the Finals with the Bulls during the ’90s. Not only did he win all six Finals MVPs, but Jordan never played in a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. He always got the job done as quickly as possible.
In 930 career games with the Bulls, Jordan averaged 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. He won five regular-season MVPs and 10 scoring titles. Jordan is universally recognized as the greatest basketball player of all time.