Michael Jordan only endured one serious injury during his Hall of Fame career. He suffered an acute undisplaced fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot during the 1985-86 season and missed roughly five months.
However, many fans don’t know that Jordan once hurt his toe when he was a kid and had kerosene poured over his foot to make the pain go away.
Michael Jordan was very durable
Jordan played in all 82 games in a season nine times, including his last campaign in the NBA with the Washington Wizards when he was 40 years old. His durability allowed him to become the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game.
In 1,072 games with the Chicago Bulls and Wizards, Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while shooting 49.7% from the field, 32.7% from beyond the arc, and 83.5% from the free-throw line. He won six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, and 10 scoring titles with the Bulls.
Jordan was basically indestructible during his NBA career. However, when he was a kid growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, he was a troublemaker and got hurt a lot.
Michael Jordan hurt his toe while chopping wood with an ax
During the 1989 playoffs, Jordan was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, and he told a funny story about how he once hurt his toe while chopping wood with an ax and had kerosene poured over his foot.
As expected, the audience enjoyed the story.
“I’m playing with the ax. I don’t have any shoes on. Being from the country, you don’t wear shoes outside,” Jordan said. “I’m chopping little bits and pieces of wood and being hard-headed, and I accidentally missed the wood and caught half of my big toe. It was an emergency. I run home, and my mother and my father take me to the neighborhood doctor. The first thing she does is, well, we need to do something to take away the pain, so she pours kerosene over my toe. It took away the pain.”
The sports world is grateful that Jordan’s injury as a youngster didn’t prevent him from becoming arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. After all, slicing your toe with an ax and having kerosene poured on it sounds extremely dangerous and painful.
This story wasn’t discussed in the Last Dance
The Last Dance docuseries came out over a year ago. It was thrilling from start to finish and didn’t include this crazy toe story involving kerosene, which isn’t a surprise since it did not affect Jordan’s career.
The docuseries came out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when no sports were on. It was much-needed and helped sports fans get through some tough times, just like how kerosene helped Jordan deal with his nasty toe injury as a kid.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.