When it comes to competitiveness on a basketball court, Michael Jordan is surely viewed as one of the game’s fiercest. His ability to dominate both sides of the ball, along with the opportunity to play head games with his opponents made him one of the toughest players in NBA history.
There are a few moments that stand out above the rest in his illustrious trash-talking career, and today we will focus on the four times Michael Jordan’s words had a bigger impact than his game.
Mugsy Bogues was one of the NBA’s shortest players during his time in the league. Standing at just 5’3, he was tiny compared to even the average NBA player. During a playoff series in 1995, the Chicago Bulls faced off against Bogues and the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte had a very good team with Bogues, Alonzo Mourning, and Larry Johnson. In a decisive Game 5 playoff matchup, they gave it their all against the Bulls.
Former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach recalls a key moment in the game: “On the biggest possession of the game, Mugsy had the ball with the Hornets down 1. Jordan backed off of him and told him: ‘shoot it you mi***t.’ Mugsy shot it, didn’t come close…he believes that single play ruined his career. His shot never recovered.”
Trash talking on a basketball can always be tough on the ears, but Michael Jordan making a politically incorrect term to another NBA star was eye-opening.
There’s no denying Reggie Miller and Jordan had their share of scuffles during their Eastern Conference battles, but one stood out to Miller in particular.
Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel, Miller mentioned trash talk he said to Jordan before the end of the first half in an exhibition matchup, referring to him as “Black Jesus”.
Miller said: “In a meaningless exhibition game I have 10 points and he has four at halftime. At the end of the game he ended with 44 and I ended with 12. So after the game he walks over to me and says “be very careful that you never talk to Black Jesus like that again.”
Standing at 6’1, John Stockton was one of the NBA’s best defenders, even though he was fairly short. When Michael Jordan posterized him in a matchup against the Utah Jazz, a fan sitting courtside yelled to Jordan “why don’t you pick on someone your own size!”.
Jordan would follow up that posterization by slamming one down on 6’11 backup Jazz center Mel Turpin. After slamming the dunk home, Jordan mouthed to the fan “was he big enough?”
Byron Scott/Anthony Peeler
On the Dan Patrick Show, former Lakers player and coach Byron Scott recalled a story of Michael Jordan predicting his final stat line. Scott told Dan Patrick:
“You guys remember Anthony Peeler? Out of Missouri. So we got the Chicago Bulls coming to town and, unfortunately, I got a sprained ankle. I enjoyed guarding Mike because he was—the one thing I did with Mike is I never got him pissed off. He makes a shot, you say, ‘Good shot, Mike!’ You don’t talk trash to him so that he can go off for 60. You try to kill him with kindness. You don’t talk trash to him.”
“So they’re getting off the bus, we’re done with shootaround, and we’re walking out and MJ says, ‘B Scott, what’s going on?’ I said, ‘What’s up, MJ?’ He said, ‘Man, I hear that you’re not playing tonight.’ I said, ‘No, I sprained my ankle.’ He said, ‘Who’s guarding me?’ I said, ‘Anthony Peeler.’ He’s like, ‘Oh. 50.’ [laughs] So I told Anthony Peeler, ‘Listen, MJ is probably going to go for about 50 tonight on you. So just don’t piss him off. Just be cool.’ He ended up with 54.”
Can you imagine having the confidence in your abilities to predict a 50 point NBA game? Even against a rookie? Michael Jordan made easy work of Peeler and although the rookie didn’t initiate the trash talk, we have to include him simply because of the result of the game.
Which Michael Jordon trash-talking moment was your favorite?
Out of the four Michael Jordan trash-talking incidents, which one was your favorite? We have to go with the Jazz heckler seeing two of his team’s players getting dunked on. It was the ultimate display of showmanship by Jordan and is one of his most underrated moments on a basketball court.
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