"I didn't think anyone was capable of doing what Michael (Jordan) has done to us," Larry Bird said after Jordan scored 63 points in the Chicago Bulls’ first round playoff loss to the Celtics at the Boston Garden in April 1986. "He is the most exciting, awesome player in the game today. I think it's just God disguised as Michael Jordan."
While Jordan may have been an almighty figure on the hardwood, he’s reportedly anything but righteous off the court. The Bulls selected the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Jordan out of the University of North Carolina with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Jordan instantly flew in the Windy City and averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 steals over 82 games to earn the 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year award. Jordan and the Bulls struggled for nearly a decade to overcome the Celtics and Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference. Finally, surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that featured Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and lockdown defender Horace Grant, MJ led Chicago to its first championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in June 1991. Hereafter, excluding a 17-month hiatus from October 1993 to March 1995, Jordan and the Bulls ran the NBA throughout the 1990s and captured a total of six crowns during that decade.
Jordan, a five-time MVP, 14-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA First Team selection, is widely considered peerless at his craft. Although a megastar in high-top sneakers, here are 15 stories that prove that Michael Jordan is an altogether unpleasant and unlikeable individual.
15 GAMBLED ON KENNEDY’S VIRGINITY
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, known in her heyday simply as “Kennedy,” was a famous MTV VJ throughout the bulk of the 1990s. Kennedy, Michael Jordan and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons were dining in 1995 at the Bowery Bar in Manhattan. Rather than simply enjoying a meal, Jordan wanted to play a game of dice. However, a married Jordan wasn’t satisfied with a friendly competition and he decided that it was "time to play for something.” MJ proposed that if he won, he’d deflower Kennedy later that evening in his hotel room.
Conversely, if Kennedy triumphed, Jordan would give her tickets to a Knicks game. The untouched Kennedy was scared because she thought Jordan’s penis would "eviscerate (her) from the inside out." Kennedy ultimately prevailed and her virginity remained intact. Pathetically, Jordan then reminded Kennedy that he had a spouse and instead offered her seats to a Nets game.
"Sure, he'll filet my vag like a sea bass if he won at dice on a men's room floor," Kennedy wrote in her book. "But as soon as I want basketball tickets, he's a Promise Keeper? Whatevs."
14 DEFRIENDED CHARLES BARKLEY
Jordan and NBA analyst Charles Barkley were close friends for nearly three decades. Somewhat sadly, the Hall of Famers’ relationship crumbled when Barkley criticized Jordan’s heinous 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats squad. The Bobcats, owned by Jordan in some capacity since June 2006, were in the midst of going 7-59 and establishing a record for the association’s worst winning percentage. Barkley said on TNT that the Bobcats would never return to respectability until Jordan “surrounded himself with better basketball people.” Barkley’s comment infuriated “His Airness” and caused their enduring rift.
“I love (Jordan) like a brother,” Barkley told the Sporting News.
“We haven't been friends for a while. I'm like, dude, we’re trying to do our job! What do you want me to say? It gets frustrating at times. I actually didn’t think what I said was that bad to be honest with you.”
Barkley doesn’t need a “friend” like Jordan.
13 TRIED TO TAKE MADONNA AWAY FROM SCOTTIE PIPPEN
Jordan and Scottie Pippen were an iconic duo on the hardwood for nine seasons and remain long-standing friends off the court. Whenever the Bulls traveled to Los Angeles, Madonna would pickup a supposedly well-endowed Pippen in a limousine for sexual romps. Jordan was determined to lure Madonna away from Pippen and he repeatedly told the singer that he could please her better than his sidekick. Madonna commonly responded to Jordan that there was “not a chance” she would bed him over Pippen. Former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach unintentionally worsened Jordan’s jealousy when he apparently told him that “you should have seen the girls Pippen had waiting for him everywhere (we) went” in Tinseltown. If this rumor is indeed true, Jordan’s a pathetically selfish and untrustworthy man.
12 PUNCHED WILL PERDUE
Michael Jordan is a notorious bully with a propensity for violence. Hence, when Will Perdue set an illegal screen in practice, Jordan assaulted him. Bulls power forward Horace Grant recounted Jordan’s inexcusable behavior during an interview with New York's HOT97 radio station in February 2015.
“Will and I are still good friends,” said Grant.
“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.”
If the “Zen Master” had any guts, Jordan would have been indefinitely suspended for this incident.
11 MOCKED RICHARD HAMILTON
Michael Jordan and Richard Hamilton were teammates on the Washington Wizards in the 2001-02 season. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Hamilton, who Washington drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, asked “His Airness” about joining the Jordan Brand team.
“He’d look at me and say, ‘Hey Rip, my sneaker’s for All-Stars,’” said Hamilton. “And at that time, I’m like wow, really?”
Hamilton averaged 20.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists over 63 games in his lone year alongside Jordan. The Wizards traded Hamilton to the Detroit Pistons in September 2002. The two-time Big East Player of the Year thrived in Motown and matured into a three-time All-Star. More important than individual accolades, Hamilton was an invaluable contributor to the Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship squad. Hamilton was probably too inexperienced and unproven to broach such a topic with Jordan. Still, Jordan didn’t have to be so purposely hurtful.
10 PHYSICALLY THREATENED ROBERT PARISH
Boston Celtics center Robert Parish was named one the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. The 7-foot, 235-pound Parish, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, won three titles as a Celtic. A 43-year-old Parish signed with the Bulls in September 1996. Per usual, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Jordan tried to intimidate a newcomer. Much to his embarrassment, a 33-year-old Jordan quickly realized that “The Chief” was not a man to trifle with. As reported by Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, in one of his first practices with the Bulls, Parish botched one of the plays and was amused to find Jordan jawing at him just inches from his face.
“I told him, 'I'm not as enamored with you as these other guys. I've got some rings too,’” Parish recalled. “At that point he told me, 'I'm going to kick your ass.' I took one step closer and said, 'No, you really aren't.' After that he didn't bother me.”
9 PUNCHED JUD BUECHLER
Jud Buechler was a journeyman who signed with the Bulls prior to the 1994-95 campaign. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Buechler, a shooting guard selected by the Seattle SuperSonics 38th overall in 1990, ultimately proved to be a steady role player on Chicago’s championship teams in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Predictably, prior to gaining acceptance as a Bull, the 1990 first-team All-Pac-10 selection had to endure Jordan’s harassment. During a particularly heated practice, Jordan struck Buechler and continued his attack until teammates intervened. Unlike the incidents involving Perdue and Steve Kerr, specific details regarding Jordan’s lopsided beating of Buechler remain murky. Nonetheless, the situation is widely purported to have occurred and Jordan was the aggressor. Jordan was never able to comprehend that competitiveness is not synonymous with barbarity.
8 BOYCOTTS SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Approximately six months after retiring from the association, Michael Jordan debuted as an outfielder for the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Birmingham Barons, on April 8, 1994. Jordan batted .202 with three home runs, 88 hits and 51 RBI over 127 games as a Baron. Even before Jordan’s subpar career on the diamond began, Sports Illustrated featured “His Airness” on its cover with the title, “Bag It, Michael! Jordan and The White Sox Are Embarrassing Baseball.” The article itself, written by Steve Wulf and called “Err Jordan,” was actually a somewhat sympathetic piece that applauded MJ’s commitment, resilience and work ethic. Regardless of the story’s actual nature, Jordan was infuriated by its headline and he never again agreed to speak with the famed periodical.
7 DECEIVED BARKLEY
Michael Jordan’s Bulls played Charles Barkley’s Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. Although the Bulls were favored, the Suns had a legitimately solid team and weren’t hopeless underdogs. While the intense series was underway, Jordan asked Barkley to go golfing on an off day. As a friend of former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach recalls, “The day before Game 4 of the Bulls-Suns finals, and with the Bulls leading the series 2-1, Michael and Charles Barkley went golfing. They played 48 holes of golf. Michael had bought Charles a $20,000 diamond earring. Johnny asked MJ, ‘What did you do all that for?’ Michael responded, ‘(Charles) 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—.’”
The Bulls trumped the Suns in six games to win its third consecutive crown.
6 VERBALLY DESTROYED RODNEY MCCRAY
Respected small forward Rodney McCray signed with the Bulls in July 1992. In spite of being a nine-year veteran, Jordan demoralized the 6-foot-7, 220-pound McCray. Jordan frequently guarded, and berated, McCray during team scrimmages. Rick Reilly of ESPN wrote that every time McCray attempted a shot, Jordan would scream, “You’re a loser! You’ve always been a loser!” McCray, a 1988 NBA All-Defensive first-teamer who helped lead the University of Louisville to the 1980 national title, had been an efficient all-around professional for the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately, Jordan managed to permanently decimate McCray’s confidence. McCray averaged 3.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists as a Bull. Following one season with Jordan, McCray shelved his sneaks at the relatively young age of 31.
5 FROZE BILL CARTWRIGHT
The Bulls acquired Bill Cartwright from the New York Knicks for Charles Oakley in June 1988. Jordan loved the 6-foot-8, 245-pound Oakley and relied on the muscleman to keep him protected from cheapshot artists. Seething that Oakley had been shipped from the Windy City to Gotham, Jordan constantly badgered and provoked the 7-foot-1, 245-pound Cartwright. Most damningly, MJ flatly warned Sam Vincent and Scottie Pippen to avoid passing the ball to Cartwright.
“If you do that (pass the ball to Cartwright),” Jordan said to Vincent and Pippen, “you’ll never get the ball from me.”
When Jordan’s plot was eventually revealed to Cartwright, the towering Californian confronted “His Airness.”
“I don’t like the things I’ve heard you say about me,” Cartwright sternly told Jordan. “If I ever hear again that you’re telling guys not to pass me the ball, you will never play basketball again.”
Jordan and Cartwright didn’t have any issues henceforth.
4 PUNCHED STEVE KERR
Considering the size disadvantage alone, Jordan punching Steve Kerr is more offensive than either his assault on Perdue or Buechler. Roughly four months after the Bulls were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in the 1995 playoffs, Jordan was determined to regain his dominance and authority on the court. Consequently, Jordan practiced like a lunatic throughout the team’s training camp that autumn. During one scrimmage, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Kerr was tenaciously guarding Jordan. MJ was angered by Kerr’s spirited efforts and responded by striking him in the face.
“There’s this incident that occurs with Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr on a basketball practice floor, where there’s a little tension between them, and eventually Michael reacts to it and hits Steve,” said Phil Jackson. “He outweighs him by 40 pounds, and it’s not a fair fight at all, but there’s just this tension that was going on that was built between them.”
Kerr suffered a blackened and swollen right eye in the absurd mismatch.
3 CLASSLESS HALL OF FAME SPEECH
The tremendous majority of analysts and historians rank Jordan as history’s premier basketball player. Instead of appreciating and celebrating his stature, Jordan despicably ranted when he gave his hall of fame induction speech in September 2009. Jordan roasted his high school basketball coach and former rivals and executives. “His Airness” was even tactless enough to belittle his two brothers and tell his three children that, "I wouldn't want to be you guys."
"That's who Michael is," one high-ranking team executive said. "It wasn't like he was out of character. There's no one else who could've gotten away with what he did tonight. But it was Michael, and everyone just goes along."
As a fellow Hall of Famer aptly stated, “MJ was introduced as the greatest player ever and he's still standing there trying to settle scores.”
2 CRUELLY TAUNTED MUGGSY BOGUES
Point guard Muggsy Bogues was a dynamic playmaker and standout defender. Bogues, a first-team All-ACC selection in 1987, is also 5-foot-3, 135 pounds. Bogues, Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Glen Rice made the Charlotte Hornets an extremely formidable unit in the mid-1990s. In a 1995 first round playoff series against the Bulls, Jordan was defending Bogues during a crucial possession with the Hornets down by one point. “Shoot it you f****** midget," Jordan yelled at the erstwhile Wake Forest star. Bogues obliged, hoisted an errant shot, and Chicago won 85-84 to advance to the second round. Multiple insiders claim that Bogues’ confidence was crushed and he never recovered from Jordan’s taunt. Trash-talking is absolutely a part of sports. Nevertheless, Jordan’s cruelness went beyond acceptable limits.
1 VERBALLY ABUSED KWAME BROWN
"What did I see in Kwame Brown when I drafted him? I, along with everyone in that draft, wanted Kwame Brown because of his athleticism, his size, his speed,” said Jordan, who served as the Washington Wizards’ president of basketball operations. “He was still a talented 18-year-old, 19-year-old kid."
Regrettably for Brown, Jordan vacated the front office to compete for the Wizards and the two were forced to work together from 2001 to 2003. “His Airness” routinely ridiculed the 6-foot-11, 290-pound teenager and ravaged his self-esteem.
As detailed by L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated, “As a leader Jordan proved more tormentor than mentor. Many Washington players got the business end of a Jordan harangue, but he designated second-year forward Kwame Brown as the whipping boy, referring to him, as reported by The Washington Post, as a ‘flaming ******.’ A source told SI that Jordan ritually reduced Brown to tears in front of the team.”