While Michael Jordan never faced the same type of hate and criticism that LeBron James does, he's not the most well liked guy on the planet. However, the dislike of the legend is far outmatched by love. People worship jumpman. That doesn't make all the stories about him untrue. Like the one where he allegedly bet a female MTV reporter's virginity as a prize in a dice game with Russell Simmons. A move most modern day athletes wouldn't imagine making, due to good things like common sense, morals, PR people and being decent human being.
If only social media existed back then...
For the most part, MJ's co-workers disliked him because of his hyper-competitiveness.
At times, MJ was straight out awful. He would make his 18-year-old draft pick, Kwame Brown cry in front his teammates. He punched his own teammates. This is just some of the stuff that's surfaced. Imagine what hasn't.
Michael was simply too competitive to make friends with fellow NBA players. This can't be confused with the fact that, at times, he just didn't want to be friends. Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are the only current players who openly prescribe to this level of competitiveness. Jordan says he himself, could never be friends with the guys he competed with:
“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team. But that’s…things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys,” Michael says.
The dude was above and beyond spending a weekend in Las Vegas with a friend from another team. He was the "no new friends guy" before Drake made it a thing.
In summary: MJ ranked up some enemies. Here are 13 people who dislike Michael Jordan.
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16 Corey Benjamin
Corey Benjamin made the unfortunate mistake of challenging MJ to a game of pick up. Of course, Michael had no choice but to accept and treat it like a championship game.
After Benjamin got humiliated by Jordan, he told Benjamin to “sit down” and not to call him out again.
Really though, why would you ever challenge Michael Jordan? He's Michael Jordan... you're going to get humiliated.
15 Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan have been friends at times throughout their careers. Well -- Barkley was friends with Jordan.
During the 1993 NBA Finals between the Bulls and the Suns, Jordan and Barkley's respective teams. The day before Game 4, the two played a couple rounds of golf together. During the 48 holes, Jordan gifted Charles with $20,000 diamond earrings. This is $20,000 in 1993.
When asked about the reason for the gift, Jordan responded, “He won’t get in my way the rest of the series, what’s $20,000 to me? Charles thinks we’re great friends. I hate that fat f*ck.” Mean, just plain mean. This was when Barkley was in shape.
Jordan went on to score 55 points the next night.
The friendship, based on expensive earrings didn't last forever. Now, Jordan has refused to talk to Barkley. The reason being, according to Barkley, MJ was insulted over comments he made as a TNT analyst.
"I said Michael wasn't doing a good job -- he's doing a great job now, [the Hornets have] gotten better, they've made some great signings -- but they weren't doing good and I thought he didn't have good people around him," Barkley says on the Seth Davis Show. "And I said that, because I was asked that question. Your job is to be an analyst. It’s not to protect your friends…no, he’s not feeling that."
Score: Jordan: 1. Barkley: 1.
14 Will Perdue
Will Perdue was another Michael Jordan victim.
Horace Grant, a former Bull and Laker, went onto the New York City radio show, HOT97 and told this Jordan story:
"Our practices were so intense because Phil, the mastermind behind everything, would put MJ on the second team, me and Scottie would be on the first team, and being competitive like he was, man. Unreal, unreal. Of course punches got thrown, many fights. I’m just so happy that social media wasn’t (around) back then.
I hate to tell the story but Will and I are still good friends… Typical Phil (Jackson) we run this play and Will set an illegal pick on MJ, and MJ said,’Will, don’t do that again.’ ‘Whatcha talking about’ that’s Will. MJ says alright; Phil says run it again. So naturally we run it two more times, illegal pick. MJ walks up to Will — boom. Lit him up. It was over; we grabbed Will — you’re not going to hurt MJ. MJ can take care of himself. The next day on the plane, Will gets on with this huge shiner."
Will is now a Basketball Analyst for CSNChicago. Pre/Postgame and Colour Analyst for college sports on the SECNetwork. This tweets suggest he's been hit in the head a couple of times.
Labron with 2 fouls, Kyrie in the locker room and the Bulls down 41-40. Not a good sign.— Will Perdue (@Will_Perdue32) May 15, 2015
Right down main street. All green lights for Labron. Help defense anyone??— Will Perdue (@Will_Perdue32) May 21, 2015
12 Eastern Conference All-Stars
Doing MJ's first couple of All-Star appearances, his East Conference teammates wouldn't pass him the ball.
During the 1985 All-Star game, George Gervin and Magic Johnson decided to "freeze-out" Jordan. He was a rookie and the older players decided to isolate him.
According to the legend, veterans on the Eastern Conference roster conspired to keep the ball away from Jordan, who was appearing in his first All-Star Game, as much as possible. Isiah was said to have encouraged his close friend Magic Johnson to tell players on the Western Conference team, notably George Gervin, to attack MJ on defense.
11 Colin Cowherd
It was recently learned that Colin Cowherd's opinions can't be taken that seriously after he insulted the people of the Dominican Republic. Regardless, he dislikes Jordan with the same passion Skip Bayless reserves for LeBron James and everybody who isn't a subpar NFL quarterback coming out of a southern college.
He called Jordan "overrated" and "just a scorer." He believes Jordan's success came from the addition of Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen.
There's a really fun Cowherd rant attached above.
10 Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury is one of the very few people to publicly trash Michael. Trashing a guy who used his Hall of Fame indiction speech as means to settle scores with people from his past isn't the wisest thing to do, especially when's he one of the most powerful people in your profession.
During the NBA lockout, Jordan, an NBA owner now, sided with the other owners instead of players. So this is what Starbury had to say:
"Michael Fake Jordan is a sell out. #Period. He forgot which hole he came out of. I said it "Stephon X Marbury"... MJ went from MJ the black cat to a guy who forgot he was a player. Sell your team if you can't make a profit.. Your just a regular dude now! ... When he rapped the Bulls for 36 million for one year no ones said nothing about that...
He's just a man. I know he's some people's God but real is real. Dude forgot he played and demanded millions... he wasn't my idol I just loved his game. He never did nothing that I knew about to change the life off of the court other then hit cats over the head for a 100 150 dollar sneakers and still doing it. Jim Brown said it best. Micky mouse type cat. Wave and break you pocket for as long as he can.
he didn't create nothing. The game was played way before him..."
9 Isiah Thomas
Well, how could Isiah Thomas not dislike Michael Jordan? Michael Jordan recently admitted, though it had been rumored for a long while, that he froze Isiah Thomas off the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. Apparently, Jordan wouldn't have joined if Thomas was there...and there was no way they'd choose Isiah over MJ. On top of that, MJ has stated that he hates Thomas. So, if MJ is feeling all this negativity towards Thomas, why wouldn't Thomas feel similarly?
8 Reggie Miller
Sure, all is well now, but Reggie Miller and Jordan have a rough past.
In 1998, Jordan said this of Miller after the two got into a tussle during a game and words were exchanged:
"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."
Miller has also shared stories that paint MJ in a negative light. Including one in which he claims Jordan used to refer to himself as “Black Jesus” on the basketball court.
It seems that MJ returns like feelings towards Miller. Phil Jackson once said that Miller was the only person who Jordan ever threw a punch at. It's now known that's untrue.
Jordan himself said “I really don’t dislike playing against anybody in the league, but playing Reggie Miller drives me nuts.”
7 Gary Payton
While there's some mutual respect between the two, that doesn't mean The Glove liked His Airness. Firstly, Payton reserved his best trash talk for MJ. Secondly, Payton has said that John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan. With all due respect to John Stockton, who we love, there's no way that could actually be true. Lastly, Payton left Michael Jordan out of his top three players of all time. There are plenty of arguments to be made for Jordan not being the best ever, but not in the top 3? Come on, that's hate.
6 Vernon Maxwell
Vernon Maxwell was a guard for the Houston Rockets during Michael's time. His Rockets and Jordan's Bulls spilt eight consecutive championships in the 1990s, so the rivalry was significant. Even though the teams never met in the finals.
The time when MJ went and attempted to play baseball (that really happened, it wasn't just in Space Jam) account for two of the Rockets championship wings. Michael, of course, made sure everybody was aware of this fact. It greatly upset Maxwell:
"I wanted to fight him, really,” said Vernon Maxwell. […] “I tell everybody ‘Google it,’ ” Maxwell said. “Michael Jordan goes around telling everybody we never would have won the two championships if he wouldn’t have went and tried to play baseball. I say just Google the times we played them. They couldn’t beat us. It was like we couldn’t beat Seattle. If we could have gotten past Seattle, we would have knocked Chicago off. We were a team they couldn’t match up with. I hear what he’s saying. I hear what everybody is saying. But I just don’t believe it. Just Google it and the numbers don’t lie."
5 Jerry Krause
Bulls' GM Jerry Krause and Jordan had an extremely trial-and-error relationship. Things started to get shaky in 1998.
Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. He did not invite Krause to the event. He did not thank Krause in his speech. Instead of acknowledging his GM for surrounding him with championship coaches and talent, he used it as an opportunity to ridicule him.
Krause took the high-road, simply responding to the negative comment that Jordan was the best player to ever play the game.
4 Muggsy Bogues
One of the accomplishments of Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA in 1995 was ruining Muggsy Bogues' career during Game 4 of the Bulls-Hornets series.
Former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach recalls Muggsy Bogues being guarded by Jordan when this occurred:
"On the biggest possession of the game, Muggsy had the ball with the Hornets down one. Jordan backed off of him and told him, 'Shoot it, you f***ing midget.' Muggsy shot it, didn’t come close."
A year later Bogues told Bach that he believes that single play ruined his career. His shot never recovered.
At least Jordan let him be in Space Jam...
3 Charlotte Hornets
Jordan is currently an owner of the Charlotte Hornets. However, he's not the Mark Cuban type of owner who backs his team, regardless of how terrible they end up performing.
In an interview with French sports outlet L’Equipe, Jordan shared his true feelings on his team. He says he’s “pretty sure” he could still beat the Hornets 1-on-1, but doesn’t because he doesn’t want to “demolish their confidence” and wants to “let them think they’re good."
Too bad he decided to tell everybody...
Hey, look at the bright side, at least he isn't Donald Sterling.
2 Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr was in attendance for Bulls training camp of 1995. The Bulls had suffered a playoff loss to the Orlando Magic and Mr. Competitive wasn't very happy about it. Kerr and MJ had exchanged words. Kerr admits that he played with a chip on his shoulder. He says he needed to or he wouldn't have made it in the league. Michael didn't appreciate it, as Kerr tells it, "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 continues, “I knew that if we were in an actual fight he could actually probably kill me if he wanted to,” Kerr says. “It was more just I’m going to stand up for myself.”
1 1998 Indiana Pacers
The 1998 NBA Eastern Conference Finals was the height of the Bulls–Pacers rivalry. A significant rivalry in NBA history. On top of that, Reggie Miller and Jordan had their own personal rivalry. The Pacers were more than capable of winning but the Bulls held it together like only that dynasty could.
A Game 4 winning shot by Miller kept the Pacers in the series. It came down to Game 7. Scottie Pippen described it as "the toughest series of my career." While Pippen and Phil Jackson gave the Pacers all of the props in the world for their performance, Jordan didn't knowledge his rival's efforts.
"At no point in time did I ever think negative," said Jordan, when asked if he thought it could have been the final game of the Bulls' dynasty, and his career. "I always keep positive thoughts in my mind. We had to work extra hard to get it, but there was never a doubt."
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