Pound for pound, Michael Jordan was one of the best to ever do it.
The former Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards All-Star is a six-time NBA Champion and mentioned amongst the greats like Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and many others.
In an era where the word watched MJ’s greatness on ESPN’s The Last Dance, what gets lost in translation is what MJ was like after he retired and joined the Wizards and what he was like when he became majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats/Charlotte Hornets franchise.
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Metta World Peace gave many a glimpse of what it was like playing against MJ one on one. World Peace actually broke MJ’s ribs. “It was in Chicago,” recalled World Peace.
“I think it was at Hoops Gym, where R. Kelly used to play at. It was at Hoops.
“It was a mistake. Actually I’m not going to tell you it was a mistake, it was really aggressive basketball.”
Currently a majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, MJ would come out of the owners box and go one-on-one with players like Ray Felton, Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace when the team was still the Charlotte Bobcats. “I actually got kicked off because Michael didn’t want to be guarded by the big guy,man,” joked current NBA analyst, Ryan Hollins, a former Bobcats center during a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I might’ve put Michael on the IR with some elbows and some fouls man, by the way I was playing back then! But you know, he set up about two or three times, they played some 1-on-1, they closed the gym off and it was him, Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton and a couple of those other guys and they just played like a game of ones or a game of knockout. And you know, everything that I watched before, it kind of went all the way dark. Michael plays by no rules. He’s the OG of the OG’s and he hates losing. So, there is no such thing as a foul from his standpoint and when he’s guarding you, he’s going to call his fouls. So, he’s every old guys pick up game and that’s how it went down. You know you gotta have respect for Michael because even to this day, I cant even imagine man; if you’re playing two dribble or one dribble limit man, he’s going to be able to get his shot off against amybody because Michael’s skill and Michael’s footwork is so impeccable. They talk about the most skilled of all time you think Larry Bird and in today’s NBA you talk Luka Doncic. When you go back and watch Michael, he was so, so sound with that Dean Smith footwork.”
That’s a story.
Million Dollar Question: Who won between Gerald Wallace and MJ? “I didn’t get the intimacies of it, but G-Dub was definitely an elite defender,” recalled Hollins.
“Michael prided himself on playing against guys like that. So, Gerald obviously, his athleticism was shining through, but Michael still had the ability to get his shot off and you know, it’s funny because when you watch the Last Dance people underestimate – they really don’t pay attention to how detail oriented Michael was. So playing against a guy like a Gerald Wallace, he would be looking down and saying, “Ok. Gerald’s left hand is down. So I’m gonna attack his right foot because there’s no way he can get back. His body weight is shifting and every time I hesitate, Gerald’s going to reach and I’m going to swing through for the foul.” Michael studied guys to a level –it wasn’t just go out and score, he was thinking a game to a level that he doesn’t get credit for. Because you see the dunks, you see the hang time; you know, the historic play against Sam Perkins when he goes up with one hand and fades with the other… you think Air Jordan. You don’t think Air Footwork. And Michael was on another level with that.”