What comes to mind when you think of Michael Jordan? That he is the greatest player of all time? "The shot"? His sneakers?
Michael Jordan is an interesting character indeed, who invokes many different memories from basketball fans, and there are many crazy stories and tales regarding him. Some even call him the "biggest jerk" in the entire NBA, take a look at this article we published earlier this year for proof. So whether MJ really is a jerk or isn't really isn't important to this article, but it's the reason some of these stories are even real. Some of the stories are really a result of Jordan being a jerk, and some are Jordan being Jordan.
"To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate."
So you heard it from the man himself. He says that to be successful, one must act selfish and independent. Whether he was trash talking, beating people up, signing autographs, or being nice to kids, MJ had a historic career. Jordan really got in people's heads, and playing him was a mental game. He got inside your head, and messed with it.
Players, coaches, and fans have all recounted the legacy MJ has left on the game of basketball. But more importantly Jordan has left his mark on American pop culture, being one of the few athletes who has become a household name. To get to that status, Jordan had to do some crazy things, which you will hear about today. These stories are compiled from the internet, but only from validated sources.
Here are crazy stories involving the G.O.A.T. himself, as always if you have any stories that we missed, let us know in the comments below.
15 Dissing Chamillionaire
Famous Hip Hop artist Chamillionaire was stoked to meet his childhood legend, Michael Jordan.
"I don’t ask nobody for nothin’ I never do,” Cham recalled. “I was just like, man, this is just that one moment. I’m gonna ask Mike for a picture.” Chamillionaire would approach Jordan, who was sitting next to Spike Lee and Paul Pierce, at that time playing for the Celtics.
“They were just chilling and I said, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but Mike, I just wanted to know if I could get a picture." Imagine how excited he must have been. Imagine seeing Micharl Jordan and asking His Airness for a photograph. Well unfortunately for Cham, Jordan didn't take this too lightly. MJ yelled at the rapper, and cursed, and was quoted saying this:
“You know what, I tell you what, you pay $15,000 right now for a jersey from me and I’ll take a picture with you."
I guess Jordan was a little angry that Chamillionaire asked for a picture with him. Needless to say, this is an instance of MJ being a jerk. But it's just crazy that he could be so mean to the guy who was obviously a fan.
14 He Made A Bet To Take A VJ's Virginity
Lisa Kennedy, who started her career as an MTV VJ, recently released a book called The Kennedy Chronicles. Interestingly enough, the book features a story about her and Michael Jordan betting on a dice game. The bet was that if Jordan was able to beat her, she would have to accompany to his room. Apparently Kennedy, who was a virgin at the time, was terrified that Jordan would "eviscerate [her] from the inside out", and didn't take that version of the bet. Kennedy actually went on to win the dice game, and received tickets to a Nets game, instead of tickets to Jordan's hotel room.
She wrote about the incident very explicitly in her book, and how relieved she was that she ended up beating Jordan in the dice game. "Sure, he'll filet my vag like a sea bass if he won at dice on a men's room floor, but as soon as I want basketball tickets he's a Promise Keeper? Whatevs," she wrote. It's almost surprising that Jordan didn't find a way to cheat in this game, as his competitive side has been known to get the best of him.
13 President Clinton Versus MJ
While playing a game of golf with Bill Clinton, Jordan was getting heated. Rumors are that he was beating Clinton, but getting a little angry with Clinton's non-competitive play. In a joking way, but sort of angrily Jordan said "You're going to play from the little girls' tees".
Clinton probably ignored the statement like a man, and I'm sure the two continued to play for years after. It's just interesting that Jordan would have the guts to say that to the President of the United States. Jordan never let anybody intimidate him. He was going to bring 100% to no matter what activity he did. This competitiveness helped him on the basketball court and he probably felt that if he lost it anywhere in his life, it would one day affect his play.
Jordan and Clinton seemed to have a pretty good relationship, as Clinton once wrote him a birthday card, following his first NBA retirement. “I never could hit a baseball,” Bill Clinton wrote. “Good luck!”
12 OJ Mayo High School Beatdown
While at MJ's camp, OJ Mayo was calling out to him that he couldn't guard him. Jordan was angry at this, and obviously knew who the young recruit was. Mayo was highly ranked in the country for his age, and playing Division One basketball.
Even in his older age, Jordan beat Mayo every time they played one-on-one. At nearly 50 years old, MJ schooled OJ. Jordan also sent all the kids at the camp to bed that night, and played Mayo a couple more times. He won every time. Mayo discussed the incident with Sports Illustrated, saying the following:
"He (Jordan) said, 'OK, young fella, let me tell you something. You may be the best high school player in the world, but I'm the greatest ever. Don't you ever disrespect the great like that.'
"People ask, 'Why would you talk smack to GOAT? Why would you talk smack to Mike? At the end of the day, it's still basketball. You definitely respect everything Mike's done for the game. But when you're a young buck and you get a chance to go at the top, I kind of had the mentality that I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Mike did what he had to do."
11 Ping Pong Champion
Apparently Michael Jordan doesn't like to lose, just in case you didn't know. Can you believe that after losing a ping pong game to a teammate, Jordan went out and bought a ping pong table the next day? Sure that's not too crazy, but he then proceeded to train every day for the next six months until he was able to exact revenge on his teammate. You can say a lot about the man, but one thing you can't say, is that he isn't dedicated to winning. One has to wonder just how on earth Jordan found the time to practice ping pong when he was so dedicated to basketball.
If your buddy beat you at ping pong, you would practice maybe one hour and challenge him to an immediate rematch. Jordan didn't want to risk losing again and only challenged him when he was sure that he would emerge victorious. The only question is, who was the teammate?
10 Rodney McCray Is A Loser For Life
Jordan snapped at Rodney McCray multiple times while on the Chicago Bulls. In this instance, he made Rodney pretty sad, saying "You’re a loser, you’ve always been a loser." It's no wonder after Jordan spiked him with these mean comments, McCray never played another year of basketball. I guess MJ really does get in people's heads. This is a less than flattering story of such a beloved sports figure. A former teammate of Jordan's says that while he respected Jordan's competitive nature, he couldn't condone what MJ did here.
"He's the most viciously competitive player I've ever seen. That's what makes him, I think, the greatest player ever. He has practically ruined Rodney McCray for us."
McCray's career never did seem to recover. He arrived with the Bulls putting up 16.6 points per game and 8.2 rebounds three years prior, but apparently, there was no spot for him on Jordan's team.
9 Messin' With Chuck
During the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan played a little prank on Charles Barkley. They were best buddies off the court, or so Barkley thought. Jordan purchased a $20,000 diamond ring for Chuck before the NBA finals. He eventually explained why he was doing this for his opponent:
“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—.”
Jordan's rationale was to bribe Barkley into not getting in his way during their playoff game the next day. Clearly Charles and Jordan split ways after this one, but rekindled their relationship later on. Jordan is a very harsh guy, who lost a good friend after those comments. Winning must have been more important than friendship to him and like it or not, it worked. Jordan put up 55 points in Game 4 of that series and if you'll recall, Barkley barely touched him all game.
8 Too Old For A Comeback
While scrimmaging with his own team, the Bobcats, Jordan got injured. MJ got evaluated by the trainer, and he was good to go eventually. What was really quite the sight, was Jordan attempting to play defense at 50 years old. Well it didn't work out too well, as he fell a couple of times. Jordan was rushed to the trainers office and looked at. Nothing serious was accounted for thankfully. Unfortunately that killed our dreams of seeing MJ return to basketball in his 50s.
While Jordan may have been the greatest athlete of his time, even the greatest athletes eventually get older. Age has caught up with Jordan and sadly we won't see him play an NBA game ever again. While that should be seen as an obvious, that doesn't change the glimmer of hope we had when we saw him training with his team.
7 Bullying Cartwright
Michael Jordan was very angry when he found out his friend Charles Oakley was traded for Bill Cartwright. As a result, he hazed Cartwright, and continuously bullied him. Jordan would throw him passes intentionally missing his hands, would trash talk him, and just be a plain jerk to him.
Jordan would call him names like "Medical Bill" implying that he was injury prone and he purposely threw him passes that were impossible to handle. He did this so that people would draw their attention to Cartwright and discover some faults in his play. Purposely sabotaging a teammate? Not cool, Jordan.
Cartwright was a solid player, it's just that MJ wanted his old buddy Oakley back. He didn't get his wish, but instead MJ got help for three championships.
6 $500 Wager
In 2011, MJ made a risky bet with a fan for $500 (well, maybe that's not so risky to him), betting that he could land the ball on the green. This was during a charity golf event, which is why Jordan put up so much cash. Anyway, of course, Jordan hit the ball square on the green and took home $500. I'm sure he spent the $500 soon after, as the guy makes millions/billions on Air Jordan sneakers. Jordan placed the bills on the table, and nailed the bet through. The guy is amazing at everything he does, let's just be honest here. What was that fan thinking? Not only did he lose, but imagine the trash talk he must have heard from Jordan afterwards!
Jordan is so full of confidence, you wouldn't have put it past him to challenge Tiger Woods to a game of golf back in his prime. Jordan would have probably pulled a Shooter McGavin and hired a fan to heckle Tiger.
5 No Arguments
ESPN journalist Wright Thompson did an interview with Michael Jordan where Jordan talked about his home life. Jordan claimed that he would not ONCE let his wife win an argument between them. I don't know how you can prevent your wife from winning an argument, especially when she is in fact right (and she usually is). Logic would dictate the one making the better points would win the argument, right?
The journalist said that Jordan sounded very patriarchal in the interview, as if his wife's opinion was irrelevant to his own. Jordan could be a jerk, a narcissistic man, but he is a winner, and I guess he had that philosophy at home as well. There's certain times though, when you have to leave your work mindset at the office and be a different man at home. Michael Jordan was the same no matter where he was. You either took him for what he was, or you move on.
4 Utah Jazz Fiesta
In a game against the Jazz, the Utah owner became upset with Jordan, after he dunked the ball on John Stockton, and yelled out "pick on someone your own size”.
Well sure enough Jordan did exactly that. The next play Jordan slam dunked it home on Mel Turpin who stood at an astounding 6-foot-11. Jordan was dissing everybody by saying, 'hey it doesn't matter what height you are, I am better than you'. He demonstrated that in front of thousands of fans in Utah. Jordan ran up the court smiling, and glanced over to the Jazz owner.
This wasn't so much of being a jerk as Jordan was just trying to prove a point. He wasn't there to take pity on any player. He was simply the best and he was going to show it, no matter who he was up against. Perhaps the Jazz owner should have just kept his mouth shut and don't poke the bear. As if you need to give MJ any extra motivation to beat you, right?
3 Muggsy Bogues
In the 1995 NBA playoffs, Jordan was a big bully to short NBA player Bogues. While Muggsy was running up the basketball court, Jordan said this, "Shoot it, you f***ing midget". As Bogues shot the ball, he completely missed it. Interestingly enough, Bogues told reporters that his career went in a negative slope after these words. Bogues felt picked on, and bullied by a bigger guy; a guy who may have been THE biggest guy.
Bogues career coincidentally began to decline the following season. One cannot determine if in fact Jordan held such power over a player's career but it's hard to argue with the results. Jordan was able to get in people's heads and it's part of what made him so great. It's almost incredible how universally beloved Jordan is despite stories like these. Can you imagine if a story like this about LeBron James had emerged? It seems when you're MJ, you can get away with anything.
2 Little Jordan Is Packing
This guy really will bet on anything. So while the story isn't confirmed from Jordan's mouth, there is a long standing legend that he made a bet with Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen regarding whose son had the biggest, um... member. All of their sons were under the age of three at the time, and the trio had a long debate about whose son was the king of all boys. Though Jordan lost the bet, it's crazy to think that this was the conversation in a locker room of the NBA Champions.
This seems like an incredibly petty and juvenile bet, but like many have said many times, Jordan really will bet on anything and will want to win in any sort of competition he's involved in. This bet sort of proves there was no line Jordan wouldn't cross in looking for a victory. Part of you wants to believe this story isn't true but part of you is laughing at how Jordan could really find any avenue in which to win something. Hopefully they didn't revisit this bet in later years.
1 Dissed By Madonna
So at this point, we all know how competitive Michael Jordan can be, especially when competing against teammates; Scottie Pippen was no exception. Jordan and Pippen would find ways to compete with each other on anything. Any time Pippen would one up Jordan, it would eat away at Jordan's soul. Acccording to Deadspin, "Scottie and Michael used to compete on everything. Jordan used always claim his hands were bigger, but they weren’t. Scottie was very blessed down below. And that killed Michael."
During their dynasty run in the 90s, Pippen was known to have lines of attractive women waiting for him in every city. One of the women that Pippen would get with on a frequent basis was music superstar Madonna.
Apparently when Jordan would see Madonna, he would tell her that he could satisfy her better than Pippen could, to which she would respond "not a chance". Sometimes it's best to just leave well enough alone, MJ. You already got all the glory over Pippen so just leave it at that, okay?