Gary Payton is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. The former Sonics player is a historic figure who dared to go up against everyone with his trash talking, including the legendary Michael Jordan. But trash-talking MJ is never a good idea.
Gary Payton revealed a story about trash-talking Michael Jordan in a pre-season game. “It was a preseason game against the Bulls my rookie year. So it’s 1990. It was the Bulls but not the Michael Jordan Bulls yet, know what I mean? It’s before the first three-peat. They were still getting beat in the playoffs by Detroit, in like ’88 and ’89.”
Payton was in a groove during the pre-season game, including dominating Bulls player BJ Armstrong. “MJ was on the bench most of the game — I didn’t understand that it was just preseason and MJ doesn’t play hard like that in a preseason game. So B. J. Armstrong had me. I gave him 19 points. And I’m a rookie, so of course, I’m talking crazy. I’m talking sh*t to B.J. I am running by the bench, saying sh*t to MJ. I’m staring guys down. I feel great.”
Payton revealed that his Supersonics played Michael Jordan and the Bulls during the regular season. “A few weeks later, we had the Bulls for the first time in the regular season, at home in Seattle. I’ve been working for it, waiting for it, I’m ready. And of course, everybody’s talking about how it’s the Bulls — how Michael’s coming to town. I’m like, O.K. I gave them 19. I know I can get down on MJ, no problem.”
Payton talks Michael Jordan trash-talk
“MJ wouldn’t shake my hand. The game gets going. I’m checking. Michael, and I see Phil Jackson start calling plays — four, five, six times in a row, he’s calling plays for Michael. And Michael is scoring four, five, six times in a row. Michael is on a different level than I knew there was.”
Payton then talked about how he got into foul trouble during the game, and Michael Jordan gave it to him. “In a matter of minutes, I’m in foul trouble. K.C. benches me. I didn’t really go back in the game much more after that. I remember I finished with no points — played about seven or eight minutes. MJ ended up going for 33.”
Jordan took the moment to show the young rookie who the man is in the NBA. “Looks right at me. ‘That sh*t you talking in preseason?’ The wild thing is, MJ isn’t even mad or nothing. He’s chewing his f*cking gum. ‘This is the real sh*t right here. Welcome to the NBA, little fella’.”
Jordan’s time in the NBA continues to be a fascinating story. But we hope to unearth more anecdotes from Michael Jordan’s career.
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