Where do we begin when it comes to Michael Jordan?
Michael Jordan, also known by MJ, is a retired NBA player who spent the majority of his 15-season professional career with the Chicago Bulls as a shooting guard. MJ was one of the most dominant players in Bulls' history as he won six NBA championships (1991-93, 1996-98) along with six NBA Finals MVP awards (1991-93, 1996-98), five NBA MVP awards (1988, 1991-92, 1996, 1998) and 14 NBA All-Star titles (1985-1993, 1996–98, 2002-03) over the course of his tremendous career.
MJ's leaping ability, which was demonstrated by throwing slam dunks from the free throw line on the court, rightfully earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness. He was arguably the greatest player of all-time in his era, but he was also known for being one of the best defensive players in the NBA.
MJ retired three times; the first time happening just days before the 1993-94 NBA season to try his hand at a career in minor league baseball, the second time being in early 1999 but he returned to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards from 2001-03 and the third time being his last in 2003 following his final game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of 40. He's had a massive pro career, and not only that, he has been doing well in his post-retirement life with his basketball and business endeavors, especially his signature shoe, the Air Jordan. He was the first NBA player to become a billionaire, but don't assume that his money will allow him to conversate with anyone because there are some people that he'll probably never speak to ever again.
Without further ado, here are eight people Michael Jordan is close friends with and eight he doesn't talk to anymore.
16 Close Friends: Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman may not seem like the type of guy to hangout with MJ, but he was indeed a favorite on his list of friends. MJ was the star of the 1990s' Chicago Bulls, but Rodman and Scottie Pippen joined their pal to become one of the most successful trios of teammates in NBA history.
Rodman enjoyed playing with MJ. Rodman also did whatever he could to help make scoring more simple for MJ. Not only that, Rodman (and Pip, for that matter) were loyal towards MJ, which made for three gigantic characters on the court—whether they were hosting a home game or taking on an opponent in an away game. Simply put, Rodman was not only a great defensive player, but also had a big heart, which is a positive trait that you don't see in NBA players every day.
And the secret to such an amazing friendship? According to the Chicago Tribune, the moment when Rodman had begun to allow his walls to come down.
MJ told the Chicago Tribune: "There's one person to give credit for that, Phil Jackson. He's established an atmosphere of quiet, accepting respect that has allowed Dennis [Rodman] to not be so wary all the time. And we've all benefited from it."
15 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Charles Barkley
Just because Michael Jordan is a notable billionaire and Charles Barkley is a controversial analyst on Inside The NBA doesn't mean that the two had a smooth-sailing relationship when they were in their primes as former NBA All-Stars. In fact, their relationship was sometimes tumultuous, like, say, the reported on-again, off-again relationship between pop stars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. They've been friends at times, but they've also been arch enemies at times, too.
Sure, Barkley has defended MJ plenty of times in discussions on whether or not the former six-time NBA champion is the greatest basketball player of all-time, but there are a couple of things that likely cause tension between the pair.
Those things include the pair of earrings that MJ gave to Barkley, rude comments made by Barkley, and MJ's recent political comments on African Americans being targeted by police officers.
Barkley defended his actions and claimed that his job was to be an honest television broadcaster, but we're pretty sure that MJ isn't buying it as the truth and nothing but the truth. So, there's still going to be some hard feelings between the pair and it's likely going to stay that way unless if they both learn how to let go.
14 Close Friends: Drake
Let's take a few moments to take a look at one of MJ's younger friends, the Canadian rapper Drake who was a former actor who starred as Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. According to HotNewHipHop.com, MJ is like the majority of us when it comes to his musical preferences.
MJ said: "Right now I'm more of a Drake fan."
Well, you shouldn't be too surprised at his response since there was a video of him dancing to Drake's "Back To Back" on the golf course in 2015. But as far as we know, his admiration of Drake might be nothing more than an athlete/celebrity business relationship. In the meantime, it's indeed really cool that the pair are friends and MJ serves as Drake's mentor who gives the rapper snippets of advice every now and then.
Let's not forget when MJ talked to Drake before the 2016 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Drake told Sportsnet: "Michael Jordan talked to me earlier today...He told me to go out there, told me what plays to avoid running, told me: ‘If you want the champagne and cigars, you gotta win."
Drake added: "I had a great sit-down with Mike...I mean, Mike’s like a mentor and a great friend to me, so that’s always a highlight. We played ping pong today and I won—a lot."
Turns out, the Canadians defeated the Americans 74-64 at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Oh and Drake inked a partnership with MJ's Nike brand, so Kanye West has to keep an eye on the competition...if he's still doing actual business instead of tweeting political stuff, that is.
13 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Steve Kerr
MJ and Steve Kerr didn't have much of a relationship as Bulls teammates in the 90s.
Since 2014, Kerr has been serving as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and has been doing an excellent job as he has helped the once-struggling team win two NBA championships in 2015 and 2017. Of course, you might be bored of the same old Warriors-Cavs NBA Finals matchups that have been taking place the past three years, but it's pro basketball, and besides, all pro sports are rigged to a certain extent.
Anyway, Kerr smashed a whiteboard during the 2016 NBA Finals and the topic of his 1995 scuffle with MJ came up. Kerr trash talked and delivered an improbable punch to MJ, which led to a scuffle between the pair—all because Kerr didn't like how he was being treated in Chicago, Illinois.
Kerr told James Herbert of ESPN.com: “I took exception to something he said,” Kerr says. “So I was talking back and I don’t think Michael appreciated that ... and we got in the lane and he gave me a forearm shiver to the chest and I pushed him back. And next thing you know, our teammates were pulling him off of me.”
Kerr added: “I knew that if we were in an actual fight he could actually probably kill me if he wanted to...It was more just I’m going to stand up for myself.”
Although the pair apologized to each other, they had a totally different relationship moving forward and learned new things about themselves.
12 Close Friends: B.J. Armstrong
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 175 lbs, B.J. Armstrong was on the short side of the late 80s' and early 90s' Bulls, but that was all right for MJ, who appeared to love him as an NBA player regardless of his height and weight.
Armstrong was a point guard who wore the numbers 10, 11, and 2 over the course of his 13-season career in the NBA. He seized three NBA championship rings and was named a 1994 NBA All-Star. In addition, his No. 10 was retired by his alma mater, the University of Iowa.
Nowadays, Armstrong might not be one of the biggest names in basketball, but he was definitely a hard worker whose playing style flawlessly worked out with MJ's ways on the court.
Their friendship was truly stuck like glue as Armstrong was always there to help MJ on and off the court, which was a good thing because you don't hear about a whole lot of strong bonds between NBA players in this decade.
Armstrong told Sports Illustrated: "My whole life, I’ve been incredibly lucky. I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and play with Michael Jordan. So all of the things people talk about—building their brand, being the best, being a champion—I just happened to have been standing next to the guy who was doing all of these things at the height of his career."
11 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Stephon Marbury
Michael Jordan has a reason to dislike Stephon Marbury, a former NBA point guard turned Chinese basketball star who won three CBA championships (2012, 2014, 2015).
So, if you're looking for a person who really hates MJ, look no further. Marbury has called out the NBA GOAT on multiple occasions for a wide range of topics ranging from his political comments on racial profiling to his $200 sneakers being the reason why some young children resort to violence to get their hands on a new pair of Jordans.
In 2015, Marbury tweeted: "Jordan has been robbing the hood since. Kids dying for shoes and the only face this dude makes is I don't care. The time will change!"
Marbury followed up with another tweet, writing, "Home boy your paying 200 for Jordan's and they make them for 5 dollars. The shoes are made in China in the same places. Stay calm we coming!"
While Marbury has made a couple of valid points like the unnecessary violence for a pair of J's, we could feel MJ's pain when he gets bashed and criticized on a regular basis by a former NBA player who has been irrelevant in the U.S. for quite a while.
10 Close Friends: Tiger Woods
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, MJ spoke in-depth on his close friendship with PGA golfer Tiger Woods and mentioned how he was grateful that he missed the modern era of social media because it has changed how a lot of athletes live today.
For The Win of USA TODAY Sports wrote that MJ said: “He’s in a transitional period. We athletes, we go through that. And then we have to be adults, we have to make sound decisions. He is to me in a very unique situation. Tiger played in his peak somewhere towards the end of my career. And the what changed between that timeframe to now — social media, Twitter, all those types of things that has invaded their personality and their personal times as individuals. I don’t know if I could have survived in this Twitter time where you don’t have the privacy that you would want. What seems to be very innocent could always be misinterpreted.”
MJ went on to mention that he disliked comparisons between athletes of different generations, like, say, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, because they probably never played in the same tournament, used the same equipment and vice versa.
MJ ended the interview saying that he prefers to judge players based on their impact.
9 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing is a former Jamaican-American NBA center who played the majority of his pro career as a starter for the New York Knicks and had brief stints with the ex-Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. He currently works as a head coach for his alma mater, Georgetown University, and that's most definitely a cool job for any retired NBAer to have.
Ewing was arguably one of the best players in the Michael Jordan era not named Michael Jordan, but of course, you can share your thoughts on this subject in the comments section at the end of this list.
Anyway, Ewing and the 90s Knicks often overshadowed by bigger, more prominent stars like MJ, Pip and Rodman of the 90s Bulls, so the 55-year-old never got to see a trip to the NBA Finals, but he had some of the greatest playoff battles with MJ in the mid-90s and that in itself was a fierce rivalry even though the Knicks and Bulls weren't playing in the same division, just belonged to the same conference.
Although Ewing never got to win an NBA Championship, he was the forefront of an old school Knicks team that easily had enough talent to win an NBA championship in most eras, except MJ's.
8 Close Friends: Horace Grant
Horace Grant is the twin brother of Harvey Grant. The male set of twins were both former basketball players who made it to the NBA.
Harvey, however, wasn't much of a big name in the basketball world. Horace, on the other hand, just happened to be in the right place at the right time and figured out how to use his incredible talent so he could make the most out of his natural abilities. Horace's respected gained the respect of MJ even though it's very obvious that he wasn't one of the biggest names in the league compared to him. Horace tried to be the best power forward and center he could be on the court and it showed as he went on to become a four-time NBA champion.
The pair had a seemingly magical ability to play flawlessly together and this was something that most, if not all, old school basketball fans will tell you if you ask them how the game was played back in the day.
It's fairly rare to see two NBA stars play together in a way that doesn't draw negative attention from the media members and coaching staffs alike. That being said, Horace as one of the reasons why MJ loved to play the game.
7 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Skip Bayless
Skip Bayless undoubtedly worked hard to get where he is today, but he's arguably the most annoying sports pundit and tends to ruffle the feathers of many folks on Twitter.
Bayless, like many other sports journalists, developed a fondness towards sports growing up and went on to pursue sports journalism in college after being the main sports columnist at his high school.
Despite Bayless' impressive climb to the top, MJ doesn't seem to be the type of guy who would keep in touch with the Skip and Shannon: Undisputed commentator. Why's that? Bayless actually once compared himself to Michael Jordan as it relates to debaters in sports:
"Magic Johnson once called me the Michael Jordan of debaters, so I’m afraid there isn’t anyone. If I’m Michael Jordan, and he is obviously the greatest player ever in any sport, I’m not sure there’s a rival out there. If you sat in the hot seat that Shannon sits in every day, I think you would melt fairly quickly."
It's hard to take most, if not all, things that Bayless talks or tweets about, but we can tell that MJ would probably go out of his way to ignore Bayless in person or on social media.
6 Close Friends: John Paxson
As you can see, MJ has shared a couple of laughs with John Paxson, a former Vice President of Basketball Operations (2009), General Manager (2003-09) and Point Guard (1983-94), in the past.
Paxson was originally selected with the 19th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1983 NBA Draft. Paxson spent two years (1983-85) in San Antonio, Texas, where he averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists per game. Paxson then signed to the Bulls as a free agent and was subsequently paired up with MJ in the backcourt. Paxson might've been overshadowed by MJ, but he proved his worth as a big-ticket 3-point mark man and clutch shooter, especially when he made his game-winning shot during Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals. The Bulls were down by two with 3.9 seconds remaining in that game, but Paxson came to the rescue with a wide-open 3-point shot to lift the Bulls to a 99-98 victory en route to their third consecutive NBA title.
MJ could always depend on Paxson, who displayed patience on the court and lacked a notorious ego.
Paxson was the type of player who could carry out a play after receiving the ball. In addition, Paxson was seemingly content with letting MJ steal the show and continue to be the legend that he is.
5 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Reggie Miller
MJ might've toned down his opinions on Reggie Miller in modern times, but for the longest time, the Bulls superstar hated the Indiana Pacers star with a passion. The two were constant rivals who battled for the ball on the court whenever their teams played each other.
MJ once told ESPN The Magazine: "I don't really dislike anybody in the league, but playing Reggie Miller drives me nuts. It's like chicken-fighting with a woman. His game is all this flopping-type thing. He weighs only 185 pounds, so you have to be careful, don't touch him, or it's a foul. On offense, I use all my 215 pounds and just move him out. But he has his hands on you all the time, like a woman holding your waist. I just want to beat his hands off because it's illegal. It irritates me."
Of course, Rodman has drove most, if not all, of us nuts; but he was nowhere near the negative ranks of Miller. But that's what Miller gets for trash talking MJ in his rookie year in the NBA. The situation boiled into a catastrophe that left Miller advising others to "Be sure and be careful you never talk to Black Jesus again."
4 Close Friends: Charles Oakley
Charles Oakley was reportedly one of MJ's favorite teammates to shoot hoops with.
Oakley was originally drafted ninth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1985 NBA Draft, but his draft rights were traded to the Bulls and that's how he ended up in the Windy City.
While Oakley was older and joined the Bulls before MJ did, he turned out to be a quality scoring option who provided consistent defensive and offensive performances for an up-and-coming Bulls squad that was led by the one and only MJ.
Although Oakley never won an NBA championship with the Bulls or any other NBA team for that matter, the 54-year-old has lots of good things to remember about his basketball days like the fact he quickly became friends with MJ and the pair seamlessly worked together on the court and fended off cheap shots and rough tactics used by opposing players to keep their health statuses in check.
Also, MJ—along with the help of NBA commissioner Adam Silver—helped Oakley mend his relationship with Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan following Oakley's arrest and subsequent ban in MSG for engaging in a fight with a MSG security guard during a Knicks game. Hey, that's what friends are for.
3 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Donald Trump
MJ turned the Bulls' loss to the Knicks in Game 1 of the 1993 NBA Eastern Conference Final from a rather tough road loss into long-lasting casino time.
After the loss, MJ was spotted in the Trump Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, gambling to his heart's content from late Monday evening to early Tuesday morning. MJ is reportedly a big-time gambler and was far from dominant in Game 2, but the Bulls ultimately won the series in six games to get a ticket to the 1993 NBA Finals, where they defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games.
But MJ doesn't have the same thoughts and feelings on Donald Trump nowadays. Sure, Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States after enjoying a business and reality television career for many years, but that doesn't mean that MJ—who's also a billionaire businessman—agrees with everything that Trump says and tweets. MJ took a stand after seeing Trump's tweets and comments about how NFL players should be fired if they chose not to stand for the National Anthem.
In a statement obtained by Sports Illustrated, MJ said: "One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized."
2 Close Friends: Scottie Pippen
Oh, you knew what direction this list would go in, right?
There's no doubt that MJ loves Scottie Pippen. The pair weren't just extraordinary Bulls teammates in the history of pro sports, they were also close to the point where they could be considered as the Batman and Robin of the NBA. They just clicked since the first day they played together on the court. Also, Pip was exceptionally loyal to MJ and even refused to play in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, if their alleged enemy Isiah Thomas was invited to join the Dream Team. That was the moment that sealed the envelope between MJ and Pip, who have been close friends ever since.
The pair's friendship wasn't always smooth-sailing, but they always seemed to have found a way to settle their personal disputes.
MJ spoke about his friendship with Pip in a 1996 feature for The Chicago Tribune, saying, "We are very close. Much closer than most people even know. He comes over to my house and the two of us work out together."
MJ continued, asserting, "I like having Scottie with me at the house. We work out and talk, and he tells me all kinds of things. A lot of personal things. Scottie's a very thoughtful guy, if he trusts you, and I think we really trust each other."
1 Doesn't Talk To Anymore: Isiah Thomas
You likely remember who Isiah Thomas is and you can thank MJ for being straight up about his hatred towards the 12-time NBA All-Star because it helped you remember the name or at least made you think to yourself that you've heard of that guy in the past.
But here's the twist: MJ's hate towards Thomas was so extreme to the point that he reportedly said in the past that he wouldn't join the 1992 United States Olympic men's basketball team, commonly known as The Dream Team, if the Team USA committee invited Thomas to join what would turn out to be one of the greatest collections of players in the history of all sports. The committee obviously chose MJ and not Thomas, and while The Dream Team went on to achieve large amounts of success, the ill-fated feelings between the two continue to linger. That, however, shouldn't come as a surprise because the issues between them have kind of always seemed to be there and those issues only continued to increase over time.
In reality, Thomas did pretty good for himself as a two-time NBA champion (1989, 1990) with the Detroit Pistons and a 1990 NBA Finals MVP. So it must've been his personality that got MJ worked up.