Michael Jordan is one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls legend loved talking smack and destroying his opponents both mentally and physically.
During his run with the Bulls, Jordan was the most feared player in the NBA. He was not only the best scorer in the league, but the North Carolina alum had arguably the biggest mouth and always backed up his trash talk with stellar performances.
Most people assume that Michael Jordan talked trash to get into the head of his opponents. However, according to MJ’s trainer, the six-time champion talked smack so he could get into his own head and put pressure on himself to perform.
Michael Jordan always delivered the goods
Whenever Michael Jordan guaranteed something, he always delivered the goods. Whether it was scoring 50 points after saying before the game he would get 50 or beating the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals after telling the media the Bulls would win, MJ never failed to keep his word to himself or his teammates.
The reason Jordan was so confident was that he worked extremely hard on his craft during his free time and at practice. The five-time MVP practiced like he was playing in a game so that the actual game would be easier than practice.
As he got older, Michael Jordan became more mature mentally by sharpening his mind. He knew when to use energy and when to conserve it. He also knew how to intimidate his opponents without saying a word despite being an elite trash talker, something his trainer — Tim Grover — talked about.
Michael Jordan talked trash to put pressure on himself
Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s legendary trainer, told GQ that MJ didn’t trash talk to get into other people’s heads. The Hall of Famer would trash talk to get into his own head and put pressure on himself.
If Jordan told a defender he would score 50, that was his way of putting pressure on himself to actually get to 50, deliver on his promise, and lead his team to victory.
Michael Jordan’s expectations were always greater than what everyone else put on him. That’s why he said in the Last Dance docuseries he wasn’t satisfied with winning six championships in an eight-year span. The 10-time scoring champion wanted to return in 1998-99 and win No. 7 with the Bulls.
Would the Bulls have won No. 7 in 1998-99 if the band stayed together?
The San Antonio Spurs won the championship in 1999, as they defeated the New York Knicks in the Finals in five games. The 1998-99 regular season was only 50 games due to a lockout.
If the Bulls kept the core of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman together and Phil Jackson returned as head coach, they would have likely won the Eastern Conference since MJ had a stranglehold on the conference. The Knicks never beat Chicago in the playoffs when Jordan played.
Let’s say the Bulls and Spurs met in the 1999 Finals. Jordan would have taken things personally against Tim Duncan since the Spurs star told media personality Dan Patrick in 1998 he wasn’t a huge fan of the Bulls icon.
While Duncan didn’t outright say he hated Jordan, the Spurs forward sort of insinuated all the hoopla around MJ was overblown.
Knowing Michael Jordan, he would have attacked Tim Duncan and the Spurs every game and willed the Bulls to a seventh title.